Found yourself working remote lately, or alone, or isolated? These aren’t new experiences in humanity. The good news is that this means we have positive examples to look to in scripture, and God has a purpose for our remote work, loneliness, or isolation.
When You’re Really Alone
Working remote for many people means that they’ll end up spending more time with their family, but that’s not always the case. Not all of us are married, not all of us live with family, and not all of us have roommates. So when some of us work remote, we have to deal with long periods of being alone.
They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
– Genesis 7:14-16
Noah is a great example of isolation with family or friends. You’re still disconnected from the world, and this relates to a lot of people’s remote work situations. But sometimes we don’t even have family or friends around us. Yet, they all have something in common.
It Won’t Last Forever
Being alone for periods of time isn’t inherently wrong. It happens to many people in the Bible. When you’re alone, this is the perfect time to return to God. In Noah’s case, it was to save him and his family. In any case, God can call you to seclusion for a reason:
David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”
“The king has given me a mission,” David replied.
– 1 Samuel 21:1-2
But the real point here is that their seclusion always came to an end. It never lasted very long. Noah wasn’t on the Ark forever. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days, and then returned. David’s mission eventually ended.
Only Moses is allowed to come near to the LORD. The others must not come near, and none of the other people are allowed to climb up the mountain with him.
– Exodus 24:2
Moses always came back from the mountain. But he was with God the entire time. This is righteous isolation, where we’re not alone spiritually, but physically.
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
– Matthew 14:23-25
Jesus always returned to his disciples. But he was always praying to God when alone.
So if being secluded is okay, should we seek to be alone? Should we isolate ourselves in order to bring about blessings in life?
Seclusion is Decided by God
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
– Proverbs 18:1
Seclusion is only good when God calls us to participate in it, and when that happens we know it won’t last too long. We know it’s for a good reason. But when we seek seclusion as a means to bring about something good, it’s not going to work. If you seek to isolate yourself, you seek your own desire. Noah being isolated in the Ark wasn’t his own idea. Moses didn’t seek to climb the mountain alone, he was commanded to. Jesus didn’t seek to seclude himself, he was following the will of his Father; the Holy Spirit led him there. And David didn’t go on his mission alone by choice, he was following his instructions. But when God calls us to be alone, in order to bring about something good, it doesn’t mean it will be a cake-walk either:
Seclusion Can Get Painful
Isolation will hurt after a while, it doesn’t matter if you’re extroverted or introverted. It isn’t natural to be permanently alone:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
– Genesis 2:18
Even God himself was not alone in the beginning, before creation:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
– John 1:1
So when we’re taken away from what is natural, it will feel different. It will hurt, but if it’s because of what God is asking you to do, it’s bringing about something good. And it’s most likely because God wants you back, something the Psalmist is praying for:
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
– Psalm 25:16
You cannot do this alone. And I’m not talking about people. God can isolate you from people, but you’re not truly alone if you return to him in your seclusion. Moses was never alone on the mountain, Jesus was never alone in his 40 days in the wilderness, and you don’t have to be alone working from home day after day. If God wants you back, let him take you, and you won’t be alone anymore:
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.
– Jeremiah 29:10
If this were not true, salvation would be impossible. In order to have salvation, we have to talk to somebody, we can’t do it on our own in isolation:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6
Don’t shut yourself out from family and friends, if you do, you shut yourself out from God also. And if God has placed you in seclusion, return to him because he wants you back. Just talk to him, acknowledge his presence, don’t ignore him, and you will never be alone again.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
– Psalm 139:7-10