Now that Easter has passed, I find myself thinking about Jesus and his times of isolation.
I must have isolation on the brain. I wonder why.
In these trying times, it can be tempting to think others who have gone before us have not experienced this hardship. When it comes to Jesus, we may be tempted to wonder if he ever had to endure this kind of isolation.
Guess what. He did.
As a boy, he experienced isolation from his parents. He disappeared from them when he was twelve. His parents went frantic trying to find him, only to discover he was teaching grown-ups in the temple. ‘Where else did you think I would be?’ he retorted when his parents ticked him off.
Jesus’ parents did not understand him.
Then, after Jesus was baptised and about to begin ministry, he was led into the wilderness for forty days. I can only imagine what forty days without human contact would do to a person. And no mobile phones either.
There were times during ministry when Jesus was alone. He disappeared from time to time to pray by himself. He withdrew to quiet places when the Pharisees were plotting to kill him. He spent time alone after the news of John the Baptist’s death reached him.
There were times when Jesus was alone.
Not to mention his crucifixion. His disciples could not stay awake to pray with him. Then they all ran off when Jesus was seized by the soldiers. Stripped naked and hung on a cross, he was as lonely as a person could be.
The deepest cut of all came when Jesus was dying. His Father turned away from him. Jesus cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
No matter what I am going through – no matter what happens to me – I will never grasp the terror and darkness Jesus must have experienced when the relationship with his Father, born into existence at the beginning of time, was broken.
In that horrific moment on the cross, Jesus yielded his spirit.
We can learn a lot from Jesus in his isolation. First, God will never turn away from us like he did from Jesus. Even if this COVID-19 situation continues to get worse, God will not abandon us. We will never be alone.
Jesus understands us. He is not distant from our suffering.
Second, Jesus understands us. He knows about loneliness and heartache. He is not distant from our suffering. He truly empathises.
Third, we can yield to God. In our darkest moments, when it is hardest of all to surrender to God, we can follow Jesus’ example. Yes, Jesus asked for deliverance. He asked for that terrible cup to be taken away from him. But in the end, he yielded to God.
In the end, he yielded to God.
May we yield our whole lives to God today.
Are you lonely in isolation? Do you struggle with surrender? How might you follow Jesus’ example today? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.