WebDef: Isolation

I·so·la·tion /īsəˈlāSH(ə)n/ – Noun: The experience of being set or placed apart; out of contact; detached or separated so as to be alone.

We all experience isolation from time to time. Since the dawn of history, societies have used isolation as a means of removing a perceived problem from their midst. The experience of painful aloneness is much different from that of prayerful solitude as an intentional path to God (see the Gospel of Matthew, 14:23). Social isolation has extreme consequences to the well-being of the person being set apart, and is often a source of deep fear, sadness or hard feelings. The good news is that you're never alone, because Jesus – who suffered in ways unimaginable to us – promises to be always with us, even until the end of the age. The following song by the band Eyeshine captures the essential feeling of isolation, perfectly. For that reason, it won a social justice award for best song. Grateful thanks to Maurice Salmin, Johnny Bosch, and the band Eyeshine for allowing us to share the above song wtih you, and for all the great work they're doing encouraging audiences to "make good ripples." Check out their website – there's more great music where this came from.

Example of Isolation in Sacred Scripture:

  • And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. – Numbers 5:1-3
  • About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). – Matthew 27:46 [he was quoting Psalm 22, which shows he knew himself to be fulfilling the scriptures, and also shows his continued trust in God, knowing "You have answered Me." ]

Jesus' Response to Our Isolation:

There are many occasions where Jesus restores those who have been cast out and isolated from the community.

  • And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. – Matthew 8:2-3
  • And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. – Luke 5:13
  • And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. – Matthew 28:20b

The Bottom Line

The experience of isolation is part of the human condition, but it can be fought off. Even when we actually experience shunning or social isolation, the knowledge that Jesus will never leave nor forsake us can bring comfort. We are never alone. That's a promise that, when you hold tight to it, can bring you through dark days of isolation into brighter days ahead.

See our related WebDefs, including omnipresence. See also the Spiritual-Holistic Inquiry Process.

What are WebDefs?

WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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