Think back to just one month ago. What were you doing? What were you planning? We were concerned with so many things: school, sports, spring break, Easter, weddings, and even funerals.
Some were reason for celebration. Others were reason for sorrow. However, they all had one thing in common—they were all socially engaging. Whether it was March Madness parties with colleagues, spring cookouts with neighbors, or prom and graduation plans with classmates and friends, they often involved other people.
Now, as the coronavirus spreads and we’re being encouraged to “flatten the curve,” mandates have been put into place to stay at home and avoid venturing out. Many are isolated and alone.
While necessary, this goes against our nature. It is foreign to our very existence. You see, we were created for relationships. We are hardwired to interact with one another, cooperate and build each other up. Positive relationships foster our personality, confidence and empathy, helping us to be better people.
Even in the 2020 landscape of social distancing—and with the understanding that it is important—people are finding ways to connect with one another. For instance, I’ve observed more people out walking as families and children playing with their siblings in their yards (an increasingly rare sight in the iPad era). A friend told me that people in his area are setting up lawn chairs in their driveways to wave and call out to neighbors driving by. Just weeks ago the same folks would have pulled into their garages, closed the door, and disappeared into their houses.
Why are we suddenly seeing interactions like this? Because, again, we thirst for engagement, and that desire is not necessarily met by television or the Internet. We strive for good news, but there’s little to be found. We want to be with those that make us laugh and bring a sense of joy, but we’re drowning in a river of isolation.
With this in mind, let me offer two thoughts on isolation and relationships.
First, isolation is not just an emotional and social problem, but a spiritual one as well. While many are currently feeling remote and lonely on a personal level, it’s separation from God that should be of the highest concern.
What separates us from God? Our sin. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (NKJV).
That’s reason for fear—far more than the coronavirus. Being separated from friends for a couple months is one thing. Being separated from God for eternity is something infinitely more troubling. Further, the hopelessness that comes from being separated from God compounds the emotional and social implications of personal isolation.
Second, there is good news! This week we celebrate Good Friday and Easter, during which we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection. The timing of this commemoration is interesting (given our current situation), because Christ’s finished work on the cross is exactly what rescues us from the spiritual isolation I just mentioned.
When Jesus conquered sin and death, He removed that barrier. No longer are we eternally separated from God. Rather, we are welcomed into His presence. That pivotal act—the most important in the history of heaven and earth—opened the door for us to have a personal relationship with Jesus. As you call upon Him as Savior, He’s always there. He’s ever-present, bringing comfort, peace, purpose and hope.
My friends, we were created by God to have a relationship with Him, but sadly, many willfully choose separation. This week, though the world around us is in turmoil, set your eyes on the Prince of Peace and the gift of His salvation. In Him, you will find true remedy to loneliness and isolation.