Recently, I stepped onto my balcony and looked down just as a toddler ran into his father's arms. The youngster registered a big smile as his loving parent picked him up and gave him a big hug.
This was so encouraging because I had just been listening to a television program where they talked about our human need for interconnections and the mental challenges that we face when it is necessary to isolate if we have COVID-19 symptoms.
It reminded me of an experience that I'd had as a toddler.
In 1940, I became ill with a high fever. The doctor arrived, and after examination, pronounced the dreaded words: I had scarlet fever, and it was contagious.
The authorities came and put a sign on the front of our house with large red letters: Scarlet Fever Quarantine. I was to be isolated. My father and older siblings had to leave the house and stay elsewhere, but my mother was allowed to stay with me.
The first few days, I was very sick, but then, I recovered, and it was quite pleasant. I was allowed to take my dad's place in the larger bedroom with Mum. This was a real treat, since I was accustomed to sharing a smaller bed with one of my siblings. I felt really important. While I was quarantined and isolated, I was never alone. My mother was always with me.
Isolation is probably the most difficult aspect of the current pandemic. We read of seriously ill, hospitalized patients whose closest relatives are not allowed to visit.
For many people who are showing signs of COVID-19, isolation is physically very hard or even almost impossible.
I thought of a verse in the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 33:27a – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (NIV)
What a wonderful spiritual truth is stated in Deuteronomy: no matter where or when or under any circumstances, God is always available to us. He will never leave us or forsake us.
This presents a challenge both to me and also to you.
We can never duplicate the presence of God — being available to everyone in every circumstance. We are, however, challenged to share His love and kindness, His sympathy and empathy, in every way possible and by all practical means.
Personally, I find it a unique challenge during these difficult days. Habitually, I would share a hug or, at a minimum, offer a warm handshake if I felt that someone were discouraged. Now that's not allowed.
I can and should offer some encouraging words, even if the accompanying smile is covered by the ubiquitous mask!
Join me in this prayer:
Prayer: Dear Father, in this time of isolation, help me to think of ways by which I can show Your love to others. Help me to be an example of Your love. Give me the words of encouragement that I can share with other isolated persons. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "I Am Thine O Lord" (Lyrics)