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  • Writer's pictureMark Alan Williams

Spiritual Insights to Learn in Quarantine

Encouragements from John 14:1-6

Today I’d like to share about “Spiritual insights to learn in quarantine.”

Quarantine, social distancing, sequestering, sheltering-in-place, incarceration, imprisoning. These words have taken on a new meaning recently!

In the last month we’ve learned a lot about:

  • ourselves

  • this coronavirus

  • how life can change quickly

Sometimes in this quarantine I get a little bonkers. Last week I struck up a conversation with a spider. Seems nice. He’s a web designer. Ha ha!

In seriousness, I’ve been learning spiritually while reading through the book of John. Chapter 14 impressed me again for this time:

John 14:1-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

There are three great spiritual insights from this passage to learn right now in quarantine:

Photo by @EdwinHooper

1. Replace fear with faith! (verse 1)

Jesus said in verse 1, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

The original Greek word translated “troubled” means “stirred up” or “agitated.”

What troubles you? Agitates you? Stirs up your emotions of fear, anxiety and worry?

I could give you a list of 50 to 100 things that trouble me:

  • Some personal

  • some societal

  • some local

  • some national

  • some international

  • some financial

  • some relational

  • some totally imagined

If allowed, they can consume me. Jesus says, “Don’t do that.”

“Fear not!” is said to be the most repeated command in the Bible. In fact, it’s been said that there are 365 “Fear nots” in the Bible — one “Fear not” for every day of the year! However, if you search all the references in the Bible that say we shouldn’t fear and instead have faith, there are actually more than 365!

You say, “OK, I get it, I’m a bad person if I am troubled, stirred up or agitated.” I’m not sure that is Jesus’ message. His intent is to liberate us from anxiety, nervousness, worry, fear and angst.

His message is that there is a better way to live and that is found in the second half of the verse:

“Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

Trust means “to have faith.” Have faith in God and have faith in Jesus.

Now let me point out what it is NOT saying. It is not saying that we should not be…

  • Concerned

  • Responsible

  • Doing what we can to be reasonably safe

  • Doing all we can to care for a situation

It IS saying that while we act responsibly, we turn it over to God in faith trusting Him to take care of things.

We should believe the Scriptures which say…

  • “All things work together for good” (Romans 8:28)

  • “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

  • "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 118:6)

  • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

  • “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

  • “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

  • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Trust the Lord! Replace fear with faith.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Do yourself a favor. Memorize one or more of these verses.

2. When cooped up, look up! (verses 2-3) 

How do you like “shelter in place?” Personally, I’ve never been home so much in my life.

The other day I told Carolyn how thankful I was to have someone I enjoyed being quarantined with. She said, “Must be nice.”

That’s just a joke!

Truthfully, neither Carolyn nor I have been to the grocery store (market) in a month. Our sons have shopped for us.

Our third son Danny just got home from Denmark. LAX airport was a ghost town, so weird. He’s in special quarantine in our home, not allowed to be with the rest of the family for 2 weeks!

So, we’re all cooped up and that makes now a great time to look up!

By “look up” I mean to look forward to going to heaven, as Jesus instructs in this passage:

“There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (verses 2-3)

We should look forward to heaven for…

  • comfort

  • encouragement

  • eager anticipation

I know we might be used to verse 2 being worded this way, “In my father’s house are many mansions.”

The word "mansion" (monaiPWS: 2530) means abiding place. It means places, residences, rooms, dwellings, areas, spaces for living.

Let me ask you: Are you looking forward to heaven?

If not, you’re missing a very wonderful opportunity for great encouragement.

Recently I had an interesting and very vivid dream. In my dream, I was in college at Biola U (where Carolyn and I met) and I was late for a class. It was awful. Do you still have those dreams where you are lost and cannot get to class on time?

So, I finally found an elevator to go to the right place. And I waited and waited, but no elevator. Then, finally it came. When I got on, I was the only one on the elevator. But it was a surprise elevator. It started going up very fast. And it went higher and higher than any building would realistically be.

Then all of a sudden it slowed, so quickly that I lifted off the floor. I got out of the elevator, looked out the window and we were at the shore of the ocean, and it was just gorgeous. I thought, “I didn’t know Biola was by the ocean.”

Then I suddenly woke up!

Now I don’t know where that dream came from:

  • my subconscious imagination

  • the Holy Spirit

  • or perhaps too much rice and beans for dinner

But here’s what I know:

  1. Right now, we are in trouble, trying to find our way to the right class and in many ways wandering around lost, trying to figure things out.

  2. One day we’ll get on the final, fast elevator going up.

  3. And where we end up will be incredible and far beyond what we expect right now.

For a great blessing, listen to the song “Home.”

Heaven is a place we can really look forward to! As the song says…

  • No more pain

  • No more suffering

  • Every chain broken

  • In the open arms of the Lord for eternity

  • Every fear gone

  • Every tear wiped away

  • A gorgeous place with streets of gold

  • Laying down our burdens and our painful past

“Birthdays are good for you,” someone said. “Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” A reply came, “Looking fifty is great—if you are sixty!” The world’s idea of a fountain of youth is a mirage. Only the Bible provides an oasis for the soul: “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27).

Three books to recommend reading in this quarantine time or whenever:

  1. Fiction: Room of Marvels: A Story About Heaven that Heals the Heart by James Bryan Smith. It is a story of a dream of going to heaven, much more interesting than my dream.

  2. If want non-fiction, read Heaven: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything the Bible Says About Our Eternal Home by Randy Alcorn, an in-depth biblical study.

  3. I just finished reading the book Nearing Home, by Billy Graham. He wrote:

“How can we know—beyond a shadow of doubt—that there is life after death? The only way would be for someone to die—and then come back to life and tell us what lies beyond the grave. And that’s exactly what happened when Jesus Christ rose again from the dead.”

3. Unlock the door so you’re ready to get out (verses 5-6)

How many of us are eager to go out again, and to get out of quarantine?

There were public demonstrations in many cities in the USA with people wanting their freedoms back:

  • Freedom of movement

  • Freedom to assemble

  • Freedom to work and earn a living

These freedoms have been remarkably curtailed during this crisis. This is reasonable as long as there is not unfair discrimination against churches or others.

However, before long the restrictions will be lifted. When that happens, we want to be ready.

We want to unlock the door.

Recently our entire family of five went on a walk in our neighborhood. We went on a hike we hadn’t done in quite a while to look at a neighbor who has a llama and emus.

After the emus there is a long and very steep hill and at the bottom there is a gate. But until yesterday it was possible to go around the gate. However, we found out that they have built a home on the lot right next to the gate and now the exit is blocked. We were stuck! It would have added an hour to backtrack!

We waited around wondering what we were going to do when finally, a car drove up and opened the gate and went through and we followed it. I shouted to the neighbors who were watching our plight, “We’re saved!”

Jesus now tells us how to unlock the door of heaven and be saved:

4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

You’ve got to love Thomas’ honesty; in essence he was saying “Lord, we’re lost. You say we know the way to where you are going, but we don’t have any idea where you’re going, so how in the world do we know the way?”

If I was present, I might have whispered, “Hey Tom, back off a little man. You sound a little pushy. And skeptical also. He’s doing another spiritual metaphor thing. He likes to keep us guessing. It’s just Jesus’ style.”

But I would have been wrong. Jesus doesn’t speak mysteriously, cryptically or metaphorically. In the bluntest of terms He answers:

  • “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life!”

  • “In fact, without me, you cannot get to the Father” and by implication, to heaven.

You want clarity, Jesus gives clarity!

You want to bust out of this ugly earth and get to heaven? If so, Jesus is the ONE WAY!


Some are not so sure they should be concerned about heaven, or their need to get there, if so, let me say these two things:

  1. Heaven is paradise restored. People blame God for all the suffering here on earth, completely ignoring the fact that God has promised to end it all and restore paradise if we go through the door.

  2. There is only ONE DOOR. Many think that there are other ways, but Jesus completely shut the door on those. He made it clear that He is the one door, the one way, the one truth, the one life. He didn’t say, “No one comes to the Father but by me, or being good, or by being a faithful Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.”

There is only one door and it must be unlocked. You are the only one who can unlock it.

Do you know why there are breaker bars on exits of public buildings? It is because in a fire, the door must be able to open easily. There have been tragedies where people have died in fires because the doors were locked.

My friends, have you unlocked the door to heaven? Jesus is the door. He is the breaker bar out of this world one day and into heaven.

Uncertain if you have unlocked the door? Click HERE to learn how to be sure of your eternal salvation.

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