Posts in Category: Covid-19

Practice Verbal Distancing from These Terms

As our nation and our world continue to battle Covid-19, maybe battle is the wrong word, as we learn to survive in the world of Covid-19, there are terms that are becoming part of our everyday vocabulary.

Two of those terms are “social distancing” and “new normal.”

I’d like to propose that we practice verbal distancing from both of those terms.

I know that another name for social distancing is physical distancing and that is the term I am trying to use more and more. The reason for this is that why we need to maintain physical space to keep the virus from spreading, we should still seek every opportunity to engage socially.

In the very first book of the Bible and the second chapter we are told very directly,

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. . .

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 2:18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Genesis 2:18 is most often referenced regarding the topic of marriage; but we can’t limit it to marriage otherwise when Paul instructs people later in the Bible to stay unmarried if they are able in 1st Corinthians 7 he would be counseling against God’s direct feeling. So while Genesis 2:18 fully encompasses the union of a man and a woman in marriage it also encompasses the need for humans to have social interaction with other humans.

For the vast majority of history, one would need to have physical proximity to another person to also have social proximity to them. This would have been the reality in 1918 during the great influenza pandemic. I have heard a lot of comparisons to that horrific pandemic in our world’s history. I think there are many dissimilarities with that pandemic and what we are facing now, but one of the key differences is that this is not 1918, it is 2020 and 2020 has a multitude of ways to socially engage while keeping physical distance.

So I want to encourage all of us to stop speaking of social distancing and instead practice physical distancing while drawing near socially.

I am back on Facebook in a limit format, for this very purpose, so I can draw nearer to our church members and others that may wish to engage in the midst of this crisis.

I am making more phone calls. I spoke to my dad for forty-five minutes on the phone two Sabbath’s ago. I have not talked on the phone to my dad for forty-five minutes at one time in the five years since I moved to Maryland.

We can text. We can FaceTime. We can email. We can send a card through snail mail. Rain, shine, or Covid-19 the United States Post Office still runs strong. This last Sabbath while our family was out on a walk some church members drove by, they pulled their car over and while we stayed on the sidewalk and they in their car we had a 30+ minute Sabbath afternoon conversation. Practice physical distancing but draw near socially to someone every day!

The second phrase the “new normal” I didn’t realize how much I dislike it until today. I was looking at the news and they had a clip of Hoda Kotb breaking down in tears on NBC’s Today Show. She had just interviewed Drew Brees, the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints who was sharing what he was doing to help Louisiana to fight Covid-19. When the interview ended and Hoda tried to speak she couldn’t . . . her voice broke and tears started to come. Savannah Guthrie her co-host who is in another studio, because they are practicing physical distancing (do you like how I didn’t say social distancing? :)) had to step in and read the tease into the next segment of the show. Later when Hoda had collected herself she said one aspect of her losing it, is that she looked around to hug someone, and no one is there, and then she said, “I guess that is part of it too. Our new normal and we’ll just get used to it.” And that is when I realized I don’t like the term “new normal” either.

I understand by actual definition “new normal” is acknowledging that it isn’t normal. But when Hoda said, “I’ll get used to it.” I thought, “NO!” Because we live in a world where “new normals” those things which seem odd because they have never been this way before. Those things which have never been accepted practices of society before and were previously considered odd or out of place are suddenly accepted, and people say, “I guess this is just the new normal.” And then one day they aren’t the “new normal” any longer, they are just “normal.”

Odd — > New Normal — > Normal

And getting comfortable with not having a friend to hug, should never become normal–so let’s not even think of getting used to this, “new normal.” Let’s just keep calling this physical distancing what it is = odd!

Isaiah 55 and Covid-19

I was kicking myself after about 30 minutes had passed and I learned I would be needing a crown on one of my teeth. This past Sabbath before virtual church I had broken a tooth–I’ve known it was cracked since early December and my dentist had been encouraging me to get it fixed . . . but who has the time? So Sabbath morning the tooth broke, and today my doc told me to get into her office for an emergency appointment–which I obeyed . . . because now I do have the time.

But back to why I was kicking myself. I didn’t bring a book. I looked right at three books I’m reading when I was getting ready to leave the house and decided I wouldn’t be that long. One, there aren’t many patients going to the dentist in the season of Covid-19 and two, she’ll probably just throw some temporary fill in the hole and we’ll get to it when all this passes.

But no–things were too close to the nerve and so there I was wishing I had a book.

But since I didn’t I open the Bible app on my phone and I read the following (stay tuned after the text I have some thoughts):

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler, and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” 

Isaih 55:1-13

After I read that text I wasn’t kicking myself quite as hard, because it started me ruminating.

Here were my thoughts:

Verses 1-2: There is food right now we need that is above and beyond physical food. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” -Matthew 4:4

In this time of Covid-19 while we are worrying about the economy and what we will and won’t have does the Lord have a plan to draw us to return to His Word and His instruction for our lives? Is He calling us to take our eyes off of the world’s economy and place them on the Lord’s economy.

Verses 3-5: Verse 3 begins with an imperative to “listen” and our “listening” to what God is saying will lead us to another level of living. And then there is an expansion on that promise in verses 3b-5.

Verse 6: My heart was touched as I read these words. I thought about the people that will die due to this virus. Maybe someone I know and love. Maybe someone you know and love. I think about the people that will die prior to Jesus returning that have not yet accepted Him as their Savior. This is their time that He may be found. But this is not just about others, this is about the time I have now to seek Jesus more deeply than I have previously. In fact those things that have often sucked-up my time have been removed. The things I would subconsciously and consciously allow to pull me away from Jesus time–an abundance of meetings–I don’t have those right now. Sports–I don’t have those right now. Kids school activities–I don’t have those right now. I have a lot more time–Chad “seek me in this extra time, while I may be found.”

Verse 7: When we truly seek The Lord we will see wicked things in our lives, we will see all kinds of levels of unrighteousness. But when we see those things we don’t need to despair! Jesus through His death on the cross has given us a better option than the wicked ways and the unrighteous thoughts, the option to turn away from the wicked things and live, because “He will freely pardon.”

Verses 8-9: I pondered how is God thinking about Covid-19. It didn’t catch Him off guard like it did the leader of our country and so many others. Is God working in a way through this horrible situation that we cannot even comprehend? In history when there are calamities, crises, and persecution the church grows. But what about when the calamity is forced isolation? The question has been in my mind, “how can a church grow when can’t “go”? I hear God saying to me, “my ways are not your ways.” Maybe God is preparing a people that will come through this Covid-19 time more convicted of the times in which we are living. Ready to put everything else aside and live only for reaching people for Jesus. I don’t know. But I do know God’s ways are not my ways.

Verses 10-11: My favorite verses in the entire passage. Verses 10 and 11 assure me even in this time of isolation, somehow God’s Word is going out and it will not return to Him void. Just in the last couple weeks the grass in our back yard that has lied dormant all winter is letting me know it is ready to be cut, and today as the rain fell I thought, “after the off and on of rain and sun all week our yard is really going to need cutting.” Just like that dormant grass bursts forth. God’s word I know will do that in people’s hearts! That is how His ways, whatever they are will be fulfilled. People open to God’s word, and God’s word doing the work only it can!

Verses 12-13: I had not thought about verse 12 and 13–I don’t think ever before today. But in my heart, there in the dentist chair I thought . . . well let me first say, I don’t mean for this to sound callous. I understand there is a lot of suffering going on in our world right now, and that some will die from Covid-19, maybe even us . . . but as I pondered this verse in the chair while I was waiting for the machine to finish making my new tooth (crown) my heart thought, “could there a people who spiritually come through this virus more joyful? Seeing the good things of God rather than the thorn bush?”

Those are my thoughts. I pray Isaiah 55 leads us in this time of Covid-19.

I believe it was a good thing I chose not to bring a book to the dentist today.  


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