Thanks to the coronavirus, we’ve all had to learn some new phrases recently. We’re now painfully familiar with terms like COVID-19, “social distancing,” “self-isolation,” and “flatten the curve.”
Social distancing is perhaps the most wrenching new practice many of us have had to adopt. After all, humans are a social species. It’s unnatural for us to avoid contact with other people, and to keep 2 meters away from those we do encounter.
It’s extremely important that we do so right now, but still….it sort of hurts, doesn’t it?
But there is some good news in all of this:
There’s no social distancing with God.
God is never distant from us. Scripture tells us:
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8 ESV)
We can get as close to Him as we choose, without fear. Scriptures tell us that God is especially close to those feeling inconsolable and despairing:
“The LORD is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged.” (Psalm 34:18 NET Bible)
Jesus promised that he will be with us always, even unto the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). And when Jesus left the earth in physical form, He promised to send believers “another Comforter,” the Holy Spirit, who can be as close to us as our very heartbeat.
If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, and bereft of normal human contact, turn to the One who will “never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).
But perhaps you’re feeling isolated or distant from God because of your sin. Do you feel that if you try to approach Him He’ll shun you as though you’ve got some communicable disease?
That’s not how our God works. His arms are always open wide and ready to embrace us with divine love, even if we’ve done something wrong and feel contaminated or infected by our sin. All we need to do is repent and turn to Him.
“The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18 NIV)
Look at the example of Jesus.
Mark 1:40-41 tells the account of when a leper knelt before Jesus, asking to be healed. During those times, leprosy was thought to be a highly contagious disease and was greatly feared. Under Levitical law, lepers were considered to be ceremonially unclean and were supposed to live in isolation. Anyone who touched a leper would be considered unclean, too.
But Jesus did something remarkable: in response to the leper’s plea, Jesus reached out and touched him when He healed him. He didn’t need to do that: he could have healed him by simply declaring him so with His healing power.
But Scripture says that Jesus was “moved with compassion” for the man. He knew he needed emotional healing and social restoration just as much as physical healing. Jesus’ holy touch cleansed the man and restored him.
Jesus has compassion for you, too.
He doesn’t consider anyone to be “untouchable.” Jesus never rejected anyone who sought him humbly, whether it was someone with an actual disease, or someone who was an outcast due to their sin.
Isn’t it good to know that no matter what our circumstances, we’re never far from God’s love, grace and mercy? He’s as close as the air we breathe.
Believers have long taken comfort from this verse from Romans 8:38a:
“…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”
There’s no social distancing with God!
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.