God With Us
It is the LORD who goes before you.
He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Tuesday, Fourth Week after Pentecost
O God, out of the great measure of your gracious love, we humbly ask you to bestow on us what we so deeply need and know not how to ask: that in knowing Your love for us, we may have peace; not the peace that comes from our striving, but that which is a gift through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
Today marks 99 days after the stay-at-home order was put in place in Washington State by Governor Inslee. Since then we have seen a gradual reopening, though rumor has it, there may be a reversal coming. For many people 99 days is a really long time in which to be cooped up in one’s home or apartment.
I’m thinking especially of our homebound members who live in a retired community or assisted living space. They are unable to have visitors in their place of residence. As high risk individuals, their facility has been in lock-down mode for a very long time.
My wife and I were planning a trip with our family to go to Wisconsin in July. The goal? To visit Barb, Cheri’s mother. Unfortunately, Barb lives in an assisted living facility. We ended up cancelling the whole trip. What’s the point if we can’t visit in-person the ones we love. So we Zoom and phone instead. It’s just not the same.
In November of 2018, a professional poker player Rich Alati made a bet for $100,000 that he could survive 30 days completely alone and in total darkness. He was kept in a small, dark room with nothing but a bed, a fridge and a bathroom. Alati didn’t win the bet. He couldn’t last more than 20 days.
That type of isolation is a bit extreme, but social isolation has some rather unpleasant effects. Scientists tell us that some of these side effect are changes to sleep cycles, loneliness, proclivity for depression, memory recall and decision-making skills are affected. In extreme cases increased anxiety, panic attacks, and hallucinations have been reported. One man who survived weeks alone in the Amazon, said that his loneliness was so bad that he created imaginary friends to keep himself company.
If you have been isolated from others, what have you noticed that has changed for you?
Into your situation, God inserts himself. Actually he has never left your side. All three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have made their home with you. Have you made room for him? Only with eyes of faith do we understand that we are never alone.
God is not some “imaginary friend.” He is very real. And he is very present with you, even though you may not be able to see him sitting at the table with you. The early church would sometimes put an extra seat at the table when they ate dinner. It was a great reminder that God was always with them.
In this time of isolation, be sure to make time to talk with God often. He’s great company. And He hears our prayers and answers them all for our good and for his glory.
Do you know someone who is stranded in their own home? Don’t hesitate to reach out to them and give them a call. Personal contact makes a huge difference!
In God’s good company,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are doing well. We have volunteers and help available if needed, let us know.