TACKLING THE NEW NORMAL – ‘SOCIAL DISTANCING’

S o c i a l d i s t a n c i n g

Stay three feet away from each other.  Do not go out and stay indoors. Don’t shake hands, don’t hug. Stop meeting up. Cancel all your programmes. The pandemic that has hit this world has called for a phenomenal shift in the way we are supposed to live and the world calls this ‘social distancing’. This is no ordinary situation. While some of us are locked up in our homes with family, some people are all alone and some are without a home wandering for shelter on the streets. Yet, the common shift is being ‘socially and physically disconnected from people’. We also generally come across this scenario of social distancing during semester holidays, shifting jobs, shifting cities, being newly married, post a broken relationship, while facing trials.

People in the bible also faced this and felt lonely. King David in a psalm expresses how he felt alone when everyone including his son abandoned him.

So how do we face a situation where we are alone and social distancing ourselves? The Bible has an answer!

In John 16:32-33 (AMP), Jesus spoke this word to His disciples, “ Take careful notice: an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home, leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Here Jesus was talking about how the disciples will be scattered, each to their own home! A very similar to situation. And Jesus said, he would be left alone. What would cause the scattering is the death of Jesus. Even now, what is making us scatter due to the pandemic is the fear of death.

The Disciples faced with a similar situation! And, what did they do? What was Jesus’ advice?

  • Receive/ Be filled with the Holy spirit

“…an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home”

Jesus knew he would be leaving them soon, and they will all be scattered. That is why, before saying this, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit – who would be their Helper, Counselor, One who leads them into all truth.

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

In John 14: 18, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit and says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

  • Danger of going back to the world

“…Leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me”

Here, Jesus points out to the disciples about how they were going to leave Him alone. That is how He predicted about Peter denying Him thrice before the authorities. And that’s what Peter did, Soon after Jesus Died, Peter (who healed the sick and cast out demons) denied Jesus thrice and started fishing. He went back to his previous way of Life- being a fisherman.

Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved.

You may have been actively volunteering in church, participating, singing or even preaching. Nevertheless, in times like these, you have to be vigilant. Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved. Spend more time in God’s presence, reading the word of God and praying. Be accountable to someone who can encourage you and correct you in love.

If you’ve already fallen, it is never too late to reach out to Jesus and turn back to Him. And, as the Bible says in 1 John 1:9, He is faithful and just to forgive you.

  • Let the Word of God richly dwell in you

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.”

These are good times, isn’t it? Work from home, more time for ourselves, for family. But we tend to feed ourselves with movies, songs, tiktok, news, social media and a lot of other things during these times. These are good for enjoyment, but these will never give you the lasting peace, joy, it will not help fight away fear completely. Instead, it only increases fear. That is how Devil wants us to live – with fear, no peace, discouragement and no purpose.

We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

On the other hand, Jesus wants us to have life and life in abundance. That is why Jesus tells his disciples, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.” He spoke the word to them and has also given us the word. If we meditate on it, like the psalmist says in Psalms 1:2-4, we will thrive and grow and flourish through any season, any trial. We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

  • Testing of Faith

“..In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering”

Jesus reminded the disciples a crucial truth here – in this world (that is full of strife and sin), you will have trouble. Your question may be, ‘Why would Jesus allow us to go through trouble? Why can’t he take them away?’.

Well, God is a loving father and He wants us to grow and become more and more like Him. So, He allows us to go through trials to purify us, strengthen us, and make our faith grow. These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

Jesus prophesied about the end times in Matthew 24:7, saying ‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

1 Peter 1:6-7 :  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

  • Be courageous

“…but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

While Jesus told the disciples that there will be trouble, he also went on to tell them to ‘be courageous’  because He has overcome the world.

In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

God told Joshua in Joshua 1:5, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, They cannot touch your soul”. The devil cannot condemn you, no one can touch you without Jesus’ permission. In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

This is God’s word for you in this time of social distancing, beloved. You and I need to be sensitive to God and respond as He would want us to. Seek and receive the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all truth to protect you from going back into the world, from trials and test and to stand victorious with Him.

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