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)
It’s a new way of life for all of us—learning to deal with social-distancing and “stay-at-home” orders. But we follow the rules for everyone’s protection. We all know it’s not ‘normal’, and it creates more than a few social inconveniences. Still, in it all, I discovered some lessons God is teaching me which undoubtedly need some attention.
I will admit that while God is teaching me, I am sometimes a grudging student. Still, as I embrace these lessons and follow the rules, I find that the ‘grudging’ part dissipates, and gratitude and contentment take its place. See if any of these lessons might do the same for you.
LESSON #1: I am not in control (nor are you), but God is. He is still here and has not abandoned me. He may be trying to get my attention, however. This is a good time for me to listen and learn. What is God saying to me about my own heart and thinking? I may discover that repentance may be in order. Sometimes it’s simply learning to keep my trust where it belongs. It’s also a good time to pray—for each other, our families, and our nation.
LESSON #2: I am not an island. I was made for relationships and human touch, and much of that is missing right now. But I’ve also learned that there are still ways to stay in touch if I’m willing to make the effort. We’ve made good use of Portal, WhatsApp and Zoom to connect with family and friends. And I enjoy walking through the neighborhood and greeting people I’ve never met before despite our six-foot distancing rules.
LESSON #3: I’ve learned that a good antidote for loneliness due to our isolation is to get outside. I’m talking about our own backyards or patios… or a long walk. God is still whispering to us in His creation. We only need listen and observe, and let our souls find rest in Him. The temptation is to bury oneself in the digital world and lose touch with a real, beautiful and satisfying world God created for our enjoyment. Sometimes, it’s just sitting alone in the sun or shade breathing in the new smells of Spring or enjoying the singing of the birds.
Sometimes, it’s getting my hands dirty tending the flowerbeds or pruning away old, dead branches refreshes my soul. The isolation has reminded me how much of the beauty and simplicity in nature I often miss when I busy with other things. It’s nice, when the weather allows, to revel in what God gave us. It’s a taste of life as it should be.
LESSON #4: Stay-at-home may limit where I can go and who I can be with, but not what I can do. Opportunities are still abundant to bless others and receive blessing as we connect in creative (and safe) ways. I’ve learned that I can either barricade myself away or I can find new ways to reach out and engage.
For example, Diane and I appreciate Silvia’s invitation to do exercises in her driveway with a few other neighbors (with appropriate social-distancing rules). I also find great pleasure in chatting over the fence with my neighbor or helping shovel snow from my neighbors’ sidewalks (yes, we do get Spring snows in Colorado).
Spring is here. Let’s not let the isolation rules keep us from at least getting outside to enjoy the delights of all that God has made for our pleasure. It’s a whole lot better than anything on our devices. By the way, this is also a good time to catch up on some reading we’ve neglected.
GRANDPAUSE: We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.