I wanted to write about something other than the virus, but that’s hard to do. It so consumes our mind and our energy that it is hard to think about much else. We are anxious to get out and start moving around again. Being locked-up or quarantined seems so unusual, but it has happened to others.
Noah and his family spent 40 rainy days with animals in the ark, then waited almost a year while the water receded so they could set foot on dry land. Jonah spent three days in the belly of a great fish. Joseph was in both a pit and prison through no fault of his own. Daniel found himself in the lion’s den for a night. His friends wound up in the fiery furnace. Israel was taken away into seventy years of captivity in Babylon.
I am sure, with a little work, we could come up with a theology of quarantine. Why is it that some people get a ‘time out’ and what does it mean? However, there are just some things we can’t control and don’t understand. When we look at the biblical examples, we can see that after going through those events, something new emerged.
Noah and his family helped to restart the world. Jonah preached revival to a pagan nation. Joseph was promoted to the second most powerful position in the country. Daniel and his friends had influence over a foreign king. Israel emerged from captivity with a new sense of her spiritual life.
I look forward to being done with this current time of social distancing. But I am starting to wonder a little bit about what might happen next – about what new work God is up to. What new thing might emerge in my life when this is all over? I don’t expect everything to return to normal. I expect that God will be doing a new thing in the hearts and lives of all of us. That’s exciting.
God does that. He takes the stuff we don’t understand and often don’t like and he uses it for his new work and his good. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13) We can count on this.