So 2020… What a year, huh? Four months in and it’s been absolute insanity. Earthquakes, fire, war and rumours of war, grief and death in church bodies, financial struggles, and a global pandemic that has sewed fear and sickness through our communities. The world looks bleak and torn.
Today is Good Friday, the day we meditate on Jesus’ final sacrificial work on the cross. Ironically, this is the first time I will ever have attended my church’s Good Friday service— even if it’s virtually through a live-stream. I had worked nights for the past three years and always missed listening to God’s Word preached at this somber time of reflection. Now, quiet and still at home, I have been graciously given all the time I need to sit and meditate. A small sliver of proof that God is always working in the darkness. (Side note: I’ve had a TON of proof that God is working in the darkness lately! My 2020 has been, despite global conditions, gorgeous and I find myself quite suddenly a blissfully happy wife and mom of two beautiful girls. I’ll have to gush about God’s goodness in another post, but for now, I want to talk about isolation.)
Amid all this fear and uncertainty, we are ironically celebrating Easter in a very similar manner as the original disciples.
“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” John 20:19
That first Easter, they were all hiding. In self-isolation, in fact. The outside seemed scary, dangerous, and absurd. The disciples didn’t yet know the hope of the resurrection. Their normal had been disturbed. The Man they thought would rescue them was gone, they were afraid, they were alone.
God was not dead. He was alive! He had risen and spoke His peace to them, reminded them of who He is, and who they are in Him. Through all that darkness and fear, Jesus came and spoke peace to His isolated disciples.
Now more than ever, we need to be reminded that God has not abandoned us. We are not alone. And we need to remember who we are in Jesus. We may be isolated in our homes, but we are never separated from the Grace of God. God doesn’t leave His people alone.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4
Even when we feel isolated. Even when we are quarantined. Even when we are in darkness or fear or frustration. God is there. We cannot be isolated or hidden from Him.
When I look at social media, there is so much discord and fear. People spread misinformation, both information making COVID19 looks more terrifying than it is AND information undermining it. There are people berating those who don’t take the pandemic seriously enough, and people scoffing at those who anxiously watch the rising number of patients. The bottom line, however, is that we are all in our houses afraid. Afraid of illness or afraid of losing freedom, we all have become victims of this fear.
The first disciples isolated themselves in fear. We have been told to isolate ourselves. Both forms of isolation can produce more fear. But we, brothers and sisters of today, are living in the hope of the resurrection. We know that we serve a risen Saviour who died for us out of love. And perfect love casts out fear.
In this time when many are afraid, remember that we serve the God who says, “Do not be afraid.” In days of solitude, remember the Jesus who went by Himself to the cross to die for His people. In moments of darkness, look to Jesus who went into the darkness of Hell to pay the price for your sins. In the midst of all this death, look to the One who has overcome death.
Do not let COVID19 be the end of your faith, you serve a Jesus who cannot be quarantined. In this Easter season, remember the great and mighty things He has done! Take this time to be still and meditate on the peace Jesus brings. The world may be sick, but we have a great Physician.