Even in Isolation, We Are Not Alone

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35) This is an extract from a much larger passage, the story of Lazarus which, if you wish to read, is told in its entirety in John 11: 1-45

For Martha and Mary, this was a difficult and worrying time: their brother, Lazarus was ill. They had been nursing him for some time but there was no improvement. They were so concerned that they sent word to Jesus telling him their brother was sick.

This was a family who had known Jesus for years. They were very dear and close friends.

They lived in Bethany, a couple of miles from Jerusalem, but at the time Jesus and the Disciples were nowhere near, they were some distance away working around the River Jordan area.

When he eventually arrived, Lazarus had already died. The world of that family had been turned upside down.

But even at this difficult time they know there is hope, they have this profound confidence that he will help, somehow, even when the situation appears hopeless.

Today, our personal world has been turned upside down. We are going through challenging times. Our daily routine is gone, sometimes we can forget what day of the week it is.

We now all experience social distancing; and for some isolation. Not only do we feel alone socially, many experience feeling alone emotionally and are frightened.

But while, it is true that some are self-isolating and are alone and more are socially distanced from our loved ones, God is not distanced from us in any way. We are not alone. In Jesus, His Son, we see from this episode at Bethany, just how close he is.

He was reduced to tears at the plight of the family at the loss of their brother and his friend. “Jesus wept”. (11:35)

This may be the shortest verse in the bible but it is one of the most powerful. The image, the message it conveys, shows that He was hurting with, and for, these people.

It is the tears Jesus shed which reminds us of the overwhelming compassion that God has for us in our difficult times, whatever they are.

It is the total identification of God with our human situation; with all aspects of our life but perhaps most acutely felt at times of distress and trouble.

But there is more than sympathy; there is the power and love of God. The Psalmist reminds us, “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love”. (Psalm 130:7)

Like the Psalmist, Martha and Mary also put their hope in the Lord. Even when they thought that all hope was gone, they still held onto their belief in Jesus.

Let us, too continue to put our hope in the living Lord.

Whatever our own personal situation today, in the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus to life, in the comfort he gave to that man’s sisters, it reminds us thatJesus enters into our pain, our turmoil, our worries, our fears and our times of need, and our sadness.

As Jesus was with Martha and Mary, so too he is with us. We may be isolated but are not alone.

Let us Pray.

Loving and faithful God,
In these times of uncertainty, sustain and support us.
Encourage all who are worried about the future and lift up all who are brought low.
Be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
In their anxiety, be their hope;
In their darkness, be their light;
Remind us at all times, that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose Name we pray. Amen and may God be with us and bless us.

Alan