A new phrase has appeared in our culture, it’s called “social distancing.” Let me make this very clear, “I DON’T LIKE IT!” I understand the concept; I just don’t care for its application. As older Americans, my wife and I have our share of health issues, requiring us to take more precautions with our health than when we were young and invincible. When flu season rolls around, Diane and I are more careful about protecting ourselves. I do the errands and shopping. We use hand sanitizer more often (we always wash our hands; I mean “ewww”), and we keep our distance around people who are ill.
Not that we don’t get colds, bronchitis, or even the flu now and again, but we let common sense prevail and don’t take unnecessary risks. As with any new or unknown thing, this latest coronavirus has caused levels of angst among people to reach almost unprecedented levels. I don’t think the imminent threat of nuclear holocaust during the Cuban Missile Crisis or “Duck & Cover” drills in schools frightened folks as much as this novel flu bug.
It’s true that this is not the first time on American soil the government has ordered social distancing. However, this is the first time this nation ordered healthy people quarantined in their homes. During the Spanish Flu pandemic over a century ago, schools and churches were closed, people wore masks, and they prohibited large gatherings. Yes, the death rate from the Spanish Flu was twice as high as what they project for COVID-19 (by some), but we should also consider the global population today is almost five times higher. I caution you not to draw statistical comparisons from numbers alone as many factors were in play. For example, personal hygiene, antibiotics/antivirals, and medical technology itself were all very different.
Whether the Spanish Flu pandemic was worse than this latest variant or not will be for historians to decide. The point I want to make is that the fear of an unknown coronavirus a hundred years ago did not shut down any nation’s economy. People still worked, products manufactured, and services delivered. In 1918, they took precautions to flatten the curve, and there was an economic impact from the virus, but it didn’t require the entire nation and its economy to come to a standstill.
Something else that was very much different 100 years ago? Media coverage. Today’s mass media outlets (newspapers, television networks, Internet, etc.) have all moved to the polar extremes in their views, as has much of our culture. There’s far right or far left, on or off. There seems less and less middle ground where logical people can have a healthy debate with each passing year. Remember when it was acceptable to disagree with someone yet still use a tone of civility and be respectful of the other? Today, besides words like social distancing and flattening the curve, we hear hate speech, doublethink, newspeak, and other words that seek to define others as being wrong. We commit thoughtcrime when we don’t agree with the majority. We ostracize people who dare think for themselves.
I’m okay with the concept of social distancing—maintaining a safe distance between people to reduce the risk of an airborne contagion coming in contact with you. What I’m not okay with is how today’s culture seems to equate this to being unkind, self-absorbed, scared, and alone. With each passing week of this extended period of enforced-quarantine, I see this more and more. Less eye contact, fewer smiles, stealing products from another’s shopping cart; this is not the America I stand for and defended so many years ago. No folks, I don’t like this anti-social distancing at all.
My dear friend Mr. Del Valine gave me the idea for this post a couple of weeks ago. He asked, “I wonder how all this social distancing feels to God? Haven’t many folks been doing that to Him for years?” His question stopped me in my tracks. In pondering my response, his question caused alarm bells to ring in my head.Have we been practicing social distancing with God? Click To Tweet
I believe that God did not cause COVID-19, but He allowed this to occur. I say this because nothing happens without His knowledge. God is sovereign over all creation. I also know God can use this terrible trial for good, if we trust Him. My friend’s question makes me wonder, “Has God allowed this virus to show us how we as a nation and world have been keeping Him at arm’s length?”
Many of us claim to walk with God each day. Is it a short walk? Do we even spend 30 minutes (1/48th of our day) in study and prayer, and then never mention or think of Him the rest of the day? Do we keep Him hidden away in our lives, only bringing Him out on Sunday mornings when we want to put Him on display? In our Sunday best, with smiles plastered across our face and hands raised during the music; do we want others to see Him or us?
If these questions convict you as they did me, I’m sorry. I know these are tough questions, but folks, these are tough times. When troubles find us in this life, as Christ promises it will, we need to move closer to God, not farther from Him. I cannot help but think of these words as I write this. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8, NKJV)
Is this latest pandemic a sign of nature (naturally occurring) or was it created by a sinful man in a lab in Wuhan, China (Satan-induced)? It’s too soon to know, but I am certain this is a remedial judgment by God to call our nation and the world to repentance. God’s word tells us He will never tempt us, but He uses trials to correct and refine us.
Now more than ever we Christians need to show the world the light of Christ in us. We do this through our actions, words, and character. Each of us must let the world see the difference Christ makes in His children by exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We must show how our faith is greater than our fear. Will you join me in asking God to show us how we can become better ambassadors for His kingdom through this crisis and lead others to Him?
We will continue social distancing for a while, but all of us within the body of Christ should come together in our prayers and our service. Let’s remember to pray for those who stricken with this disease and those selflessly caring for them.
52 thoughts on “Distancing Ourselves from God”
Great parallel, JD, and that verse in James even includes cleansing our hands!
Amen Ms. Gail. I thought it appropriate also. Thank you so much for joining our conversation ma’am. God’s blessings.
Oh J.D. this is awesome. I don’t like it either and every time I have to go to the store and see a sea of masked faces it makes me sad and mad (as my 3 year old grandson has described his feelings) and makes me wonder why people think the world is SO much more dangerous all of a sudden. God hasn’t changed – He is still on the throne and I agree – he is and will bring blessing out of this Divine Pause and Reset. And your point about us distancing ourselves from Him is on point. I pray we all use this time to at least draw closer to the only One Who has the answer to this situation.
Amen Ms. Ann! I don’t like it, but always want to try and be respectful of others, and our government. I pray many recognize the difference between a law (passed and approved by legislation) and recommendations. You can’t fine or jail me for breaking a recommendation. However, as God word tells us, we must “Obey God rather than man.” When government’s decide to make laws that go against God’s natural laws and what He teaches us, then we will have to choose.
Well said, J.D. I love this and join you in it:
“Will you join me in asking God to show us how we can become better ambassadors for His kingdom through this crisis and lead others to Him?”
The craziness around us should make us shine even brighter. Let’s BE THE CHURCH even when our churches are empty
You bet Ms. Jeanne. Am honored to stand beside you and proclaim Christ ma’am. God’s blessings.
Like anything else, this national trial gives us many opportunities to shine for Christ. Perhaps it even helps the message of hope in Christ fall in softer, more receptive soil. Keep shining for Jesus, J.D.!
From your mouth to God’s ear my friend. May be sow many seeds for the kingdom into the fertile, receptive ground God is preparing through this trial. God’s blessings ma’am.
J.D., this is such a powerfully written post! I agree-if others who don’t yet know Christ are to find hope, then we must behave as though what we believe is true. I pray I will be a faithful ambassador!
Amen Ms. Tammy. “Lord, may they see You in me.” Thank you for your kind words and wonderful support ma’am. I am truly blessed.
Good article JD. You bring to mind many points to ponder and more to pray and repent over. I agree that the Lord is allowing these things to happen in order to get our attention. The question that remains is; will we pay attention? Thanks as always JD.
Amen Mr. Monty. Are we paying attention or are we too busy being self-important and self-indulgent to notice?
Thanks so much, Cousin. Your ponderings and reflections reveal anew God’s presence and Glory.
Dorothy Wininger Fairchild
Aww… Thanks “Cousin.” Am so blessed to include you in my “Family of Faith” ma’am; and thank you so very much for joining our conversation. Such value is added. 🙂
Thank you for adding reflection to our conversations and thoughts about this unusual time. What a time to grow vertically even though our horizontal distance isn’t the same and an opportunity to share our real hope in Christ. Rraying His presence in this chapter is obvious when we return to community.
These are challenging times indeed Ms Marilyn. I’m so glad we can come together as a body of Christ and proclaim His glory. I pray each of us, in our own special way, can show the world His work in our lives. I pray non-Christians see us and think “I need what they have.” God’s blessings ma’am.
While social distance has challenged us all, let’s use it as a time that we can listen to God, to hear what He has to say to each of us, to connect with Him in a deeper way. To listen, we must be still, so what better time than now!
Absolutely Ms. Karen. He’s talking. He’s still right here with us. We just have to rise above the din and listen for Him.
A great post, Mr. J.D. I believe that social media often causes negative thinking and weakness. We hear about every crime, rumors are spread around the world within a day. Regarding your question of “Do we even spend 30 minutes…?”, I hope this situation has caused many people to re-evaluate their time. I don’t think the average person is as busy as they think – not all the time. Some people “don’t have time” to read, try art, go to Bible Study, etc. And yet, they haven’t missed a single episode of multiple TV shows on Netflix, and they respond to every Facebook comment within two hours.
I join you in your hopes and prayers ma’am. How we choose to use our time each day truly does show “the treasures of our heart.” Well said my young friend. God’s blessings.
One more try to leave a comment, J.D. 🙂
Great points as usual. While social distancing is a must right now, I’m keeping Jesus near and staying on long walks with Him. I need Him now, tomorrow, and every day after that.
Thank you so much for your tenacity Ms. Karen. I don’t know why iPhone’s Safari browser won’t allow you to post to a WordPress site, but will try and find an answer for you. As for your other comment, I can only echo with an “Amen.” Oh how we must press in toward our Lord each day during this crisis. Let us never distance ourselves from His love.
I agree with you. But then I usually do.
I wish every one could get on board and see what is happening to our country and the global world as we know it. I am so glad that I know God is in control and that I live in His kingdom of light.
Keep putting the truth out there. Let us all pray for our President and for him to be surrounded with Godly men and women. May The Lord receive glory through all of this.❤️
Absolutely Ms. Judy. I may not always see God’s guidance in my life perfectly, but I will always share what I believe He has laid on my heart to share with folks. On this National Day of Prayer (May 7th), let us pray for all the elected leaders in our nation. Let us strive not to be partisans, but Christians and Americans. Let us pray that our nation returns to its roots and endeavors to be that bright light shining on a hill. God’s blessings ma’am.
Praying we are not social distancing from God. This moment and every moment, we can find comfort in Him.
Amen Ms. Melissa. My friend’s question certainly gave me cause to think about ways I might be unintentionally doing just that.
J.D. I just updated my bog with some of the same thoughts, then scrolled through and saw yours. Great minds and all that. I didn’t see yours until now, and you come at it in kind of the opposite direction about distancing ourselves from God. Thank you for bringing another angle to my thinking and challenging me once again. Great post!
🙂 I love it when those “Jesus thangs” happen Ms. Sylvia. Am honored that God chose to use you and me to share similar thoughts, albeit from our unique perspectives. Isn’t it wonderful to see how God uses each of us, each with our own unique style and gifts, to bring His messages forward? God’s blessings ma’am. Loved your post!
I wish this season would be the tipping point for a great revival. Dare we pray, Lord don’t end this crisis until You have done a thorough work among us. J.D., you put your finger on the key – for us to be better ambassadors who spend both quantity and quality time with Him.
May I join you in your prayer for revival and renewal ma’am? I too try and ask each day how God might direct me to serve Him.
I pray for a great revival. You speak clearly and I hope we are all convicted. Let’s return to our God who is patient with us, but for how long? Let’s accept our refining and come out with clean hands and a pure heart.
May I join you in that prayer Ms. Cathy. May we all find our way closer to God and find increased faith in Him rather than fear in this world. Daniel 3 has been on my heart for weeks now. My heart breaks to see how few professing Christians can stand on their faith right now. God’s blessings my friend.
This moment in time is an opportunity for us to reflect God’s light into a hurting and broken world. Let us not squander it by getting caught up in the worldly angst (easier said than done for sure!).
I’ve read that more people than ever are tuning in to online church services. May that continue after the panic is over.
I could not agree more Ms. Candyce. I think that seeing fear, worry, and distrust in the eyes of known and unknown people is what bothers me the most. When I see church-going people acting just like the others in this world, it causes me to worry. I think we agree also that this is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to really shine God’s like into the world. If people see us smiling, cautious but not afraid, and showing God’s presence in our lives, they’ll clearly see how different we are with Christ in us. I pray people see that in me. I too love how so many churches and study groups are reaching out digitally. I sure hope this trend continues long after this crisis is over. God’s blessings ma’am.
What a great question – have we been “social distancing” God? We are experiencing the angst of social distancing and the innate sense that it’s “not right”…it’s humbling to think that we’ve been choosing to do this toward God. For no good reason. Losing fellowship opportunities and pushing Him away. Ouch.
Exactly how I felt and what I thought too Ms. Barb. I worry that we, as Christians, are also missing out on a wonderful opportunity to show the world what our faith looks like by how we are dealing with this crisis. Let us have #FaithGreaterThanFear my friend. Thank you so very much for commenting.
Great post for this season for sure! Yes, I join you in asking God to show us how we can be better ambassadors for His kingdom through this crisis.
The harvest is ripe!
Amen Ms. Connie. I pray each day that God helps me to be a better representative for His kingdom; and to equip me for whatever mission He has planned for me today. Thank you for all your kindness ma’am.
I read your post and realized I forgot to comment. As always, J.D. you make excellent analogies. As more and more people are asking is this a sign of the end-times or last days we must be ready to answer them. I shared in my Bible study if we don’t know God’s Word for ourselves we can’t answer other’s questions and we ourselves are at risk of being deceived. We must seek God now more than ever.
Absolutely Ms. Stephanie! While important that we always have a defense for those who might question our faith, it is just an important to have the knowledge and understanding we need to help others who come to us for guidance. I couldn’t agree more that we must also exhort those to study and learn themselves.
J.D., this is an intriguing concept. God calls to us through James 4:8, but our “natural” sin-infested response is to “give God the hand” (like the crossing guard who tells us to wait). Ironically, He is the One from whom we never have to feel ostracized or distanced. He is our Beloved, and ever eager to pull us in, when we draw near to Him. Hallelujah for that!
Amen Ms. Gena. When I moved to the Chicago area in the mid-90s, I learned a new symbol/phrase there by the young people I worked with. It was “Talk to the hand.” Having never saw that palm out motion beyond the traffic cop directing us to stop, I didn’t understand it in conversation. A kind young person explained the motion to me, and I came to understand “Talk to the hand” as meaning “Quit wasting your time. I’m not interested and won’t listen further.” As I was fleshing out this post in my mind, I kept being drawn back to that image. How dare I suggest that my Creator, my God and Father “Talk to the hand!” It was a humbling experience to realize that every time I ignore the pleading/leading of the Holy Spirit in my life, I do that very thing. Safe to say, I did a lot of repenting during this post’s writing.
I recently heard someone say something like, “I don’t have to social distance,” it’s not in the Bible. At first I couldn’t think of anything applicable, but later I thought of God’s command that those with leprosy should “social distance” for the benefit of protecting others. It just makes common and spiritual sense. It’s another kind of loving: wanting the best for others. Thanks, Mr. J.D., always, for thought-provoking ideas.
Thank you so much for joining in our conversation Ms. Kathy. You always add great insight and value ma’am. I hope you didn’t think I was imploring folks not to be careful with the health of compromised folks, etc. While I don’t understand why healthy people are required to self-quarantine (never before in history has this happened), we all must do our part to counteract those who can’t apply what seems to be “not-so common sense” these days. What I hope came through is that we should never keep God at a distance. Especially in these trying times, we need to draw near. God’s blessings my sweet friend.
People are watching us, and we need to show them the love of Christ and offer them hope that only comes through knowing Him. Thank you, J.D.
Absolutely ma’am. I believe that this trial is an opportunity for Christianity to help others see the “value” of God’s salvation. Yes, eternal life is the final reward, but living with less fear and uncertainty, and more joy and peace in our lives today has many tangible benefits. Well said ma’am.
Yes, I think the media has a lot to do with the parameters we are forced to endure. They cause a panic that could be avoided. I don’t like the social distancing either! Blessings, J.D.
I understand quarantining sick people; and understand protecting our most vulnerable. I don’t agree with shutting down an entire nation over unsubstantiated fears of what might occur.
On point post, for sure! I too have noticed how harsh the social distancing has become, making us almost anti-community. How can we draw near to God if we refuse (or are forced) to draw near to humans? I have been and will continue to pray that during this quarantine, people will find new life in Christ Jesus. Great post!
Thank you Ms. Deborah. Great question ma’am. I join you in prayer that Christians stand up and represent our Lord. I think we have a wonderful opportunity to show this world how God can bring us peace and joy instead of the world’s fear, anger, and distrust.
I think you are spot on especially about the idea of middle ground and people distancing themselves from God as well. Thanks for this.
Thank you so much for commenting Ms. Linda. These are difficult and challenging times for us all ma’am; a time for us to draw even nearer to God I think. I’m praying daily He shows me the lessons He needs me to learn through this. God’s blessings ma’am.