6 Tips For Isolation During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As there has been a lack of much spiritual content in the media’s advice about living out this time, I hope you do not mind me carrying on with the baton from Angus Lyon’s blogs. I am writing this especially for people who have some time to think and reflect, which is far from all of us. I, for one, have no permission to go out and do things for other people. These thoughts are not likely to be of so much interest to those working very hard just now.

Two years ago, I was badly ill with a rare skin condition that put me in hospital for 4 weeks, followed by about 5-6 weeks when I was not allowed into public places. Therefore, my experience of this lockdown as an at-risk person has, so far, felt rather like a re-run of that time.

The surprise is that resident members of my long-suffering family are obliged to share it with me this time!

1.Being a person of faith 
This is a great time for living out our faith, the kind of moment to see what has really stuck down properly after maybe many years of trying to build on the rock of obeying God’s word.

While there is plenty of room for actions of some kind, this is primarily a time to have faith (Mk.11:22ff.), to trust (Rom.15:13), to be patient (Isa. 64:4) and most of all to ‘be still and know that I am God’ (Ps.46:10).

This is a good time to prove afresh the faithfulness of God. I waited, and prayed a lot, during 19 days while I was in hospital to have a treatment approved for me that was not on the NHS main approved list. I was getting worse rather than better all that time. I prayed for an hour every day, and in that time I steadily prayed my way through all the Psalms.

Stronger than an engineer, our God of Righteousness can blast a road out ahead even where there is seemingly solid rock in the way. The verse that most spoke to me about it was ‘Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way’ (Ps.85:13).

Since then, and without me having anything to do with it, I am delighted that our church has taken warmly to singing the song ‘Way Maker’ by Sinach, with the great refrain ‘That is who you are’.

I got my hospital treatment in the end, and I am very grateful to those who prayed much about it too. As I go back to the hospital occasionally, I now find it has become a fairly standard treatment. Pioneers can pay a different price.

With our faith in engaged, we can then realise there is actually much to do. In fact, ‘faith without works is dead’ (Jas.2:17). How we might do that well is considered below.


2.Making even better use than normal of the means of grace
This is a great season for both quality and quantity time with God. Coming repeatedly into, and staying lingering in, the presence of God is a helpful way of being filled with the Spirit and hearing God fairly reliably. Working through some very good Christian book(s) would help. I have to admit that I have several books on the go.


3.Making the most of the time
I suspect that many of us have found, like me, that it is surprisingly easy to overdose on media news and their many discussions. Even the more solid, written versions easily promote the spirit of the age, which we need to see through, looking for someone out there to blame and reasons to feel aggrieved. All that means that the spoken and written news media can have their place in our lives just now, but not the main one.

       
4.Giving some quality time
This is a suitable time for some great project. We may well be asked in the future, maybe years from now, “What did you do in the lockdown?” I wonder if we have a worthwhile and interesting answer to that mapped out already. The possibilities for our answer are endless. Eccl. 9:10 says ‘Whatever you do, do well.’
Apart from any other great endeavour, this is a unique time for going through what we possess and weeding out wisely what we no longer need. I have this prophetic picture of us collectively roaring out of the starting blocks when all this is over. It is a lot easier to do that when the athlete has already laid aside everything that could have a slowing effect (see the athletic imagery of Heb.12:1-2).

5.Looking and thinking wider than this country
One way to think globally right now is to find a recent online table with figures relating to the pandemic across the world. Then you could use this composite list to pray for countries in turn, especially using the Search function to look up those countries that we have links with in some way. A brilliant American teenager has put together a constantly updated source for this data at https://ncov2019.live/data - I think even children could find this activity interesting.


6.Having some fun
I like the way our Sunday mornings ‘meetings’ end with some fun from people out there. It is not unspiritual to have some fun, even in difficult times. Prov. 17:22 says ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine’, and we don’t just achieve that by reading the Bible.
The fun could mean many things, according to our taste. My family have daily activity challenges to do in competition with each other. Friday night is film night (I include the popcorn in that). We try and solve a crossword every day. Some evenings we play games of some kind. It has been fun too to have many long chats on the phone, some of them with people who I would hardly see normally.

What did you do in the lockdown?
 
Nigel Paterson