The terms “isolation” or “social distancing” have become a part of our daily thoughts the past couple of weeks and most likely will continue for an unforeseeable period. We feel powerless and that is not a comfortable feeling.
It’s part of human nature to want control of our lives. We don’t like surprises that could hurt or disappoint us. I admit that I don’t mind spoiler warnings for movies or books. I’d rather know how the story ends. In a small way, my impatience to know the ending reveals my desire to know what will happen.
Our current social distancing reminds us how little we are in control of our lives. We can wash hands, sanitize doorknobs and other hard surfaces, and avoid group gatherings, yet still be infected with COVID-19. We don’t like the unknown, and COVID-19 is testing our source of confidence.
During this time, we can be tempted to want answers beyond what God has revealed to us through His Word, epidemiologists, and other experts. We don’t know why God allows a pandemic to occur. We don’t know God’s exact purposes for trials and sufferings. We don’t know of the outcome. But we know enough for peace and joy that comes from God.
During uncertain times, we can remember what is certain about life.
God is unchanging and that is comforting. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” Fearful moments can help us to be more appreciative of this imagery of refuge—protection from danger. We tend to not think about it when life is “just fine.”
Whether we’re threatened by a tornado, earthquake, blizzard, or pandemic like COVID-19, God is still our refuge and our helper. God rules the earth. He “is always found in times of trouble.” As God’s children, we can be still before God and keep in mind that God is with us. God tells us, “know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Let’s live each day meditating on these truths rather than listening to our fears.
We cling to what we know is true of God’s promises and believe them! We know God is sovereign over His creation. We know nothing can happen without God’s awareness. We know God is good and plans nothing but good for us. We can live with hope and joy because of the divine power in us (2 Peter 1:3).
God’s mission for the church does not change.
A lot of us are isolated from community and this can affect our motivations, thoughts, and usage of time. We will need to work harder to stay in touch with family, friends, church members, and other people.
We can still have group meetings through video communications and phone calls. We can send text messages to check up on each other. We can use emails to send sign-up sheets for ways to help people in need of food or supplies. We can maintain community and love each other during isolation by serving each other through words and deeds. Most of all, we can share the gospel with those who are searching for hope.
God’s purpose for us to glorify him remains the same.
We “number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (Psalm 90:12). Trials will make it more difficult, but we persevere by putting our hope in Christ. Fear can weaken our hope, but nothing can destroy our hope. Ask God to strengthen our faith when we’re living by sight, allowing what we hear in the news to control our thoughts.
If we have work to do, let’s do it. If we have free time, let’s catch up on projects or with people (in appropriate ways). For some of us, we needed to slow down in life and we are forced to do so. Our evenings are probably less busy with activities. Whether we watch movies, listen to music, read books, play games, or meet with a small group of friends, let’s choose content that edifies us rather than create tension.
A Spoiler Alert
Here’s a spoiler warning to cherish and remember each day—coronavirus or not. Nothing can separate believers from the love of God. If we have placed our faith in Christ alone for salvation, our eternal destiny is secure. Until we meet our heavenly Father, we can depend on the Holy Spirit for comfort and to persevere in our faith. We can rest in the work of Jesus Christ for our greatest problem.
Thank you, God, for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins, and the Holy Spirit to be with us at all times. Thank you, God, that our days are numbered by You and we do not have to live in fear of sickness or death.