Seasons of Isolation
The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
This verse describes John the Baptist. God brought him into the world through a miracle as a special messenger to prepare the way of the Lord in preaching repentance and forgiveness of sin to Israel. Although he had a distinct purpose, he was alone and isolated until the day God commissioned him forth into ministry. He is proof that God does keep us hidden or even isolated for a season until He is ready for us to walk forth in the special calling He has planned for us.
As most of us well know, isolation is not always a good thing. If it keeps us buried in depression, loneliness, or insecurity, isolation can do more harm than good. We were created to be social beings who interact with each other in order to grow. Interdependence with others helps build a sense of family and community, which is how God ordained us to live. How can we know if our times of isolation are good or bad for us?
We must look at what isolation is producing in our lives. John the Baptist grew up and became spiritually strong. If our isolation is bringing us closer to God and strengthening our relationship with Him so that we have something to share with others, then that isolation may very well be God ordained. If our isolation, however, is causing us to doubt or even be angry with God and hindering our relationship with others, it is not a healthy isolation.
When I was in seminary, I went through a season of isolation where I was deep in the word of God and doing research for classes. I worked from home via my computer and left home mainly just to go to Wal-Mart and church. I had almost no social interaction at all, but I was not lonely. I loved doing research and was excited about all the things I was learning. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get started on a new research paper because I knew I would enjoy all the things I would gain from it. I lost touch with many family members and friends during that time because of work and school demands, but I drew much closer to God and gained a better understanding of my Christian faith. God didn’t leave me in isolation forever. I was only there for a season to finish those classes, and God placed me back in the midst of people again. I believe God separated me from the world for a while to teach me some things. Once I gained what I needed from that experience, He placed me back among people to use what He gave me during my wilderness journey.
If you find yourself in isolation, you should ask yourself these two questions: “Am I growing spiritually in this place and closer to God? Is the wilderness I’m experiencing giving me something I can share with others later?” If your answer is, “Yes,” this wilderness season may be God ordained for you, and He will make it worthwhile and even enjoyable. If you feel your isolation is hindering your relationship with God in some way and leaving you lonely and depressed, then reach out to someone. Find a support group, Sunday School class, or Bible study that will help you interact with others and delve deeper into God’s word. Isolation should last only for a season and should never be a permanent place for you. God wants you to become spiritually strong, and He will lead you to seasons of isolation from the world if necessary. Just know that His ultimate intention is to draw you closer to Him, and that should be your measure in understanding where you are. What God has planned for you is good, and it will increase your faith. If He has placed you in a wilderness season, He will surely draw you out when the time is ready.
Have a blessed day!