Thursday, April 2, 2020

Isolation, Quarantine, and Lostness: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

After three weeks, I'm pretty tired of this lockdown.  It feels so wrong to me, that we as the church are not meeting together.  I'm very convicted about this.  The church is non-essential? I don't think so.  We aren't able to have morning worship, because the government says so?  Yet people can head to the grocery store twice a day for a twinkie and some Ben & Jerry's, but that's no problem.  I guess that's essential.  

Genesis 2:18 ESV "Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

I understand the concern, and the concept of preventing the spread of the virus. I get that.  I agree with that mentality.  It's important to stop the spread of the virus.  But how long can be refrain from meeting together and shut down the economy, before that situation becomes untenable?  

I'm continuing to work and serve, in the meantime.  My work is considered an essential service because we provide emergency needs to the community.  So I'm out and about.  Sometimes it looks like a wasteland, sometimes I see so many cars I wonder if there is any sort of lockdown at all!

Ultimately I leave these sort of decisions to my governmental and spiritual leaders.  Submit to your leaders in all things (Romans 13.) That's a tough one for Americans to follow, and it goes further than we realize.  But sometimes I wonder if I'm failing at my job, because I'm going along with the quarantine.  Am I in violation of God's command to meet together?  It's a rather important command.  Obviously we're doing live streams and communicating with the body in various ways, but is that enough?  I've been wrestling in prayer about that with God over the past few weeks.  For now the word from the Lord has been, obey your leaders. 

My generation, we are rebels to authority.  I realize that.  Particularly myself, because I've felt betrayed by authority in the past.  Like when I was expelled from high school by an administration looking to protect itself.  When I was bullied in basketball and my coach told it was my problem, deal with it yourself.  However, however, and however, I now recognize the need to submit to my leaders.  Why? Because I've seen the other side, of trying to be a leader, and trying to make the right decisions, and I see how difficult it is. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!"
Isolation is not good for the soul, and then again, it can also be cathartic. Isolation is a way of life for me.  Once you go deep within, you never come out completely the same. Isolation puts pressure on the soul, to ask the pressing questions we need answers to. Because we need an answer when we're desperate.  Ultimately this isolation will lead either to despair, or to a recognition of one's own lostness and the reality that God is the answer to fix this deep-seeded lostness. 

"We should bow in submission, for there may still be hope." -Lamentations 3:29 GNT

A man once send we humans live lives of quiet desperation. We scurry about from here to there, and sometimes we trip over the truth, but we get up so quickly and hurry back along that we don't recognize and slow down enough to embrace it.  Now is a time to slow down. 

I've been wasting this time, playing too many videogames and too much netflix.  This is a time when I should be reading books, writing stories and calling my family.  So I'm challenging myself to do that.  And I'm challenging you to do that.  

Remember as Tolkien said, not all those who wander are lost.  Wander in the isolation and loneliness. Wander, and draw one circle deeper and closer to God. 

But there comes a time when we must refrain from isolation and gather together.  

As it says in Proverbs 18:1 ESV "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment."