God of the Valley

Isolation and the Immanence of God

November 11, 2020 / Joshua Sercey

In Week 4 of our mental health miniseries, Josh takes the time to look at what is itself not a mental health issue, but is either a consequence or catalyst for mental unhealth: isolation.


Key Ideas:

  • Isolation is not a livable experience. We innately feel a need for proximity and relationship. We are made in the image of a relational God, and therefore we cannot endure prolonged isolation.
  • Incurvatus in se (Latin for “turned/curved inward on oneself”) is a theological phrase describing a life lived “inward” for oneself rather than “outward” for God and others.
  • Beliefs like “If you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my self” can lead to self-inflicted isolation.
  • Psalm 139: 1-12 “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
  • We have access to the emotional and relational imminence of God — Jesus knows isolation through his experience of the cross, and he therefore has an emotional and relational “withness” through his experience.
  • Isolation tells us we are alone, but the Bible tells us that we are loved and sought after by God.


As a reminder, this series does not minimize the importance and necessity of professional mental health support, but it does remind us as believers that the Lord cares for us and that the scriptures have something to offer us as we seek health and wholeness. Listen to why we’re talking about these issues in part 1, “Why Mental Health?