Living in a country that’s not (yet) in lockdown, I’ve been thinking a lot about the roles of love and faith in our daily lives. When the coronavirus outbreak started, I head the phrase, “Well, we’ll just keep going and live by faith” from several people. Something about this didn’t sit quite right with me, but it took me a day or two to put my finger on it.

Then I remembered 1 Corinthians 13. At the end of this iconic chapter on love, the apostle Paul wrote, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” [1]

The Bible says that if we say we love God but don’t act with love towards the people around us, we are liars [2], and goes on to say that faith without works is dead [3]. In short, if we are not demonstrating love, we have no faith. That’s all there is to it.

(And that’s ignoring the fact that assuming God will protect us no matter what we do, when He hasn't specifically promised this, is not faith. It's presumption without submission.)

Right now, you’re in isolation. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you not knowing where your next supplies might come from. I do know, from that year when I was bedridden, the suffering that accompanies isolation and the uncertainty of when it might end. [4]

Sometimes it helps to reframe things. So let me see if I can help.

Right now, you’re in isolation. Hopefully, if you’re Christian, it’s not because you’re afraid. Jesus has already conquered sin and death, and you have a glorious inheritance waiting for you on the other side of the grave.

No, if you’re a Christian, I hope you’re isolating yourself from obedience to authority and a motivation of love. People around you may be vulnerable. Many of them don’t know Jesus, and they are afraid.

You now have an opportunity to draw near to Jesus. To remember that fear is faith in the enemy. [5] To turn around, and see the arms of the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine, surrounding you. He is there with you, suffering with you. He also knows what it’s like to be alone and lonely. We can find great relief and delight in leaning in to our Saviour’s arms and experiencing the intimacy of fellowship in suffering.

It’s okay to cry. Crying doesn’t have to denote a crisis of faith. It can simply be an acknowledgement that this is hard. Our faith is not dependant on our smiles. Our tears can also be offerings of faith. The Bible tells us that our tears are so precious to our Heavenly Father that He catches them in His bottle [6].

When love is your motivation, every ounce of loneliness, every tear that falls, is an offering that goes straight to the throne of heaven. [7] This is your sacrifice of worship, and it is precious.

“I will not offer offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.”
(2 Samuel 24:24)


[1] 1 Corinthians 13:13.
[2] 1 John 4:20.
[3] James 2:17.
[4] The ability to move around as you please, to visit family in the hospital, to gather with friends—these are all losses. They require mourning and an adjustment to the "new normal". As time wears on (and wear it will), you may find yourself swinging between emotional acceptance of, and rebellion against, this situation. You may find yourself exhausted. These restrictions are costly in emotional energy.
[5] Terry Ciona, Hope Community Church, various sermons 2006-2011.
[6] Psalm 56:8.
[7] Manfred Koehler, personal conversation, 2008.

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