Stray Thoughts While Social Distancing

by Pastor Bob Myers

We’re all in this together. But, there’s no one size fits all message. So, today I’m just streaming the thoughts that have been running through my head.  

We are all practicing isolation. We are all having to exert energy and effort in order to connect relationally. But there are so many more losses to grieve than we have time to process, and most of us have not experienced a personal loss yet.  

I now know people with the virus. A few of us know people who are on ventilators or who have died. Some are seeking to recover at home. Some are lonely, isolated in retirement centers or nursing homes and cut off from all their loved ones. Lord, please especially draw near to them.  

Some have every bedroom full and overflowing with people. For these, the craving might be for solitude but the solidarity is a treasure. 

Some are experiencing multiple fronts of work, work they get paid for, work they don’t get paid for, and work they are unsure if they will be paid for, and at the same time are managing children and a busy household while doing so. Thus, some are experiencing a strange and unique level of exhaustion.

Some dare not leave their home due to extreme vulnerability. They are limited to staying in four walls. They suffer a strange and unique level of anxious boredom.  

Grocery shopping is exhausting. Now the person who leaves the house to bring in groceries must exercise courage and vigilance making the effort much more difficult.  Wiping down canned goods, removing cereal packages and discarding the boxes, used to be indicative of a compulsive disorder, but now it’s completely rational.  

All who are married must prioritize their spouse whether isolated with them or surrounded by many in the home. Be your spouse’s closest confidant and seek to minister to their needs. But to do that, you have to draw on Christ to you have something to give.   

Some are discovering that self-care is not selfish, for without self-care, we cannot minister well to others.

All are experiencing the fact that our world was never “certain” and never in our control to begin with. This realization is its own opportunity to go deeper. It is also a grief to bear.

Some things the Lord is showing me is that He never cared about “bigger, stronger, faster”. But He does care about “present, surrendered, and humbled”.     

To dwell in the shadow of the Almighty is not an immunity card from catching the virus. But it does mean that those who dwell in the Almighty’s shadow will not suffer the loss of anything God has for us. Some who are beloved by God and walking with Him will perish. Some who are wicked and whose lives create sorrow and difficulty will survive. We don’t use Psalm 91 as an “immunity from suffering” lucky charm. We rest in the loving protection that promises us that in the end we will not be ripped off…  Psalm 91 ends with the promise of satisfaction with our lives as we live them for Christ. 

I spend time each day praying for the helpers and heroes. Health workers are now as heroic as soldiers who serve on the very front line. There must be monuments to them on the other side of this. Now, I see heroes I did not notice before. Just doing simple jobs faithfully is an act of love and courage. Pay scales for teachers must be revisited after this, not to mention greater support and benefits for health care workers, hospital custodians, and grocery store cashiers.

Finally, process this in prayer. It’s new territory for all of us. But for this we have Jesus.

May He be more fully formed in all of us.