I was struck this morning, while my thoughts formed an amalgam of Scripture and the injustices of life, about the problems and deficiencies, of living in a virtual world. Because that is in fact what is happening at this time of viral mayhem. Our places of social interaction, our pubs, clubs, restaurants, and even our churches, are all closed down. Our movements are severely limited, and we have the bizarre situation where even contact between family members is restricted to a conversation through an open window, a letter box, or over the ‘phone.
Psalm 123 starts with the verse, “I rejoiced with those who said to me,‘Let us go to the house of the Lord‘”. Though, spiritually, the door into God’s presence is always open to His children, in our physical realm, we also yearn for the time when the door into our spiritual meeting places will be equally accessible. Because it is there where another facet of God’s presence becomes available to His children. It is there where we can bring a word of encouragement to those in need and where we can find solace for our own needs. It is there where corporate worship, the preaching of the Word, Holy Spirit ministry and the fellowship of the saints all combine into a wonderful sense of God’s presence, lifting our souls and spirits out of the valleys, up into the light of His presence, rapturing us into heavenly realms.
We are fortunate that contact can be maintained by the non-proximal use of technology, with modern digital “Apps” such as “WhatsApp” and “Zoom”, “FaceTime” and “Skype”, all enabling us to see and talk with our friends and family. But it is a poor second best. I know three dear ladies who have lost loved ones at this time and their pain and grief is compounded by the restrictions on travel and physical contact with their loved ones. Just watching their pain is almost too hard to bear, and at a time like this all you want to do is share with them a Divine hug, because our Father in Heaven is grieving too.
Thankfully, these restrictive days are numbered. There will be a time when we can meet again in a physical setting. When we can have a party with our friends and family, sharing joy and stories, unlimited and set free from governmental decree. And I, like many fellow believers, are praying that this will be sooner rather than later. But until then we need to plug into Heaven, into our Heavenly Father’s resources, His grace, His love, and continue to persevere with any means we can access, while the refining fires of social distancing drive us into our Father’s arms.
Habakkuk asked God one day what He was going to do about the wickedness and sin so rampant in the Jewish society of his day (warning – be careful what you pray for – God might give you an answer you didn’t want or expect!). And he was totally staggered by God’s response, that the cruel Babylonians would be allowed to bring about change. I don’t know if God is permitting something similar to happen in global societies today – only history will tell. But l am hearing and reading about stories of God’s grace extending into many areas where previously He and His presence were shunned. So we give Him glory for that. God will always bring about the best in adversity – Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose“.
Right at the end of the book of Habakkuk are these words:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.
No virus can take away our joy, our access to God’s resources. Habakkuk’s Godly perspective must be ours as well.