Saturday, November 14, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Am Thine O Lord"1 (Lyrics)

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.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen to your prayer.

    I am sure this has encouraged many.

    Beautiful devotional, Walter. Thank you.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, Vincent.

    So important, good reminder Vincent. Thanks, and God bless!

    Thank you for an encouraging message. I often feel lonely, so it spoke to me.

    Thanks, Vincent, for this encouragement. Thank goodness, I have a few friends with whom we have agreed hugging is ok!

    Myself being a ‘hugologist’, I concur about your sharing and wish you the best.
    Thanks for writing.

    Thank you, Vincent, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Yes, the isolation we feel heightens our appreciation for any connection with friends and family. Blessings.

    Hi Walter:
    Thanks for sharing your story with us all. I remember days of quarantine too as a child.
    So here is a big, masked smile being sent right back to you. 😷.
    Stay safe and well.

    Dear Vincent,
    Thanks for the thought for the day, and may God grant you an especial warm hug today, in Jesus, amen.
    As brothers in Christ we are one on Christ Jesus, together in spirit and heaven though apart here and now.

    Well said as usual Vincent.
    I also had scarlet fever, an illness unknown to our children and grandchildren. We lived in a suburb of New York City at the time. I remember the doctor coming to see me and taking precautions. I think sulfur as a drug had just come into use. I responded to that positively.
    Isolation is only good for hermits! and maybe not for them.

    Dear Vincent Walter,
    Thank you for a very appropriate devotional for the circumstances in which we’re now living.
    Let us continue to pray for the scientists who are working to develop serum and medications effective to counter the covid virus, that God will bring them to success. And let us thank God for the degree to which they are currently becoming successful. Pray that there will soon be very effective serum and medications.
    For the sake of all of us.
    Thank you.

    Good morning Vince. Great message, as always.
    When you read these Devotionals every day you get used to people’s personal styles. After a few paragraphs, I knew you were the author, but I didn’t scroll down to peak. When I got through reading it, my thoughts were confirmed. Your style is unique and makes the reader want to read on! Praise be to God for your talent.
    I had scarlet fever as an adult. Of course, with today’s meds, it was not so severe, but not a nice condition, nonetheless. The worst was the rash all over my feet. It was so uncomfortable.

    Dear Vincent,
    Your devotional entitled ‘Isolation’ sure hit home! What a challenge to each of us but in your usual style, you have encouraged me to:
    “…offer some encouraging words, even if the accompanying smile is covered by the ubiquitous mask!”
    I somehow can tell if a person is smiling (even wearing a mask) and hope others can see it in my eyes, too (and of course, in the voice).
    Your prayer has become mine as well.
    Thank you for stirring my desire to be more positive and to reach out through words and example of God’s love! You’ve blessed me today!

    Rev Walter:
    Thank you for this week’s meditation. Actually, I enjoy all of yours – they reflect your compassion and faith and are an encouragement to me. I work as a chaplain in a long-term care home. I have seen first-hand the effects of being isolated from family and friends at a time in life where this is perhaps all that gives the residents any quality of life. I also provide pastoral care in my church congregation. Ours is an older congregation – although our younger minister has been attracting young families. But those who are older can be very lonely. I try to stay in touch by phone or email or by sending cards. It isn’t enough. They want to come to church (ours has not yet reopened), they want to socialize, they want a hug. And it is even harder for our members who live in LTC – some have no family to even call. Because I work in LTC I cannot visit those who live in a retirement home or a LTC home, and I even have to avoid visiting those who are on their own. Thank you for your prayer today. I am constantly looking for ways to connect and to remind them that they are not alone, even if they don’t have the human company that they long for.
    Stay safe and keep well. Blessings,

    Thank you, Vincent Walter, for the very appropriate devotional.

    Dear Mr. Walter,
    Thank you for writing frequently. And for giving us the Word of the Lord in your unique way.
    I pray that God will keep you at it.

    Dear Vincent,
    I am glad that out of being sick, you received exceptional love and comfort from your mother. I also remember at times being sick and my mom would move this recliner chair into the kitchen where she spent a lot of time and we would be able to have her company as she did her chores. She would make us warm drinks and sometimes we had to have a mustard plaster. I remember those times fondly even when I could not join in the play with my brothers.
    I hear you when you find this time challenging and it helps others to hear it also, so they know others are going through similar feelings. I am sure the God will help you with finding those encouraging words for others and you will also be encouraged. Thank you for sharing your personal remembrances.

    Vincent – again God seems to put on your heart exactly the words we need to hear. Your devotional about scarlet fever and the comparison to today’s Covid spoke to me. Thank you for continuing to minister to us with your devotions.

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