by Laura Richmond
Last week I was driving home from a client visit when a billboard at the side of the road caught my attention. The board read:
“Jesus doesn’t have COVID-19 so you can come close to Him.”
If I am honest, my initial response was to laugh. What a strange message to post in a field!
However, it made me reflect on our current lockdown situation and the loneliness that comes with this. Even for those of us who still have some contact with people, it is marked by distance and separation. When I enter a shop, I search out people and make a concerted effort to walk in the opposite direction. In fact, I now feel my anxiety level rise when people come close to me. Socially distancing during the pandemic is an act of love and care to those around us. However, it can leave us feeling alone and isolated.
Where is God in our loneliness and isolation? Has he left us to face these difficult times alone?
I was drawn to Psalm 139 where David writes:
‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.’ (Psalm 139: 7-10)
This passage reminds us that God is always there with us regardless of our situation. Whether we are rising on wings or in the deep depths, God is there. What an encouragement! Even when we are physically separated from people, we are never separated from God. David speaks of the Spirit of God guiding us through this life and holding us fast. He describes the presence of God accompanying His people through the walks of life.
In John 14: 5-18, Jesus’ disciples are questioning what will happen when Jesus returns to heaven. Jesus responds: ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- the Spirit of truth.’ Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to dwell among his people. Jesus knows their fear of being alone and comforts them: ‘I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you’. Jesus reassures us that anyone who is believing in Him is never alone. In answer to our question then: Jesus is right there with us in the midst of this pandemic. Let’s thank God and draw near to Him.