As the COVID-19 crisis continues, social distancing has certainly been taking its toll on many people’s mental health. God created humans to need other people, so why is God allowing this trial of “social distancing” to affect so many of us?
God’s reasons for allowing COVID-19 are many. We live in a fallen world and the pandemics that occur now are not a part of God’s original creation. Things like this now occur because sin was introduced into God’s creation. But what was meant for evil God can use for good.
So here are 3 signs God wants to use this season of social distancing to reconnect your heart to his.
1. If This Test Is Exposing Your Need to Be More Secure in Christ, This Is a Sign God Wants to Use This Crisis to Reconnect Your Heart to His
Sometimes God produces tests in our lives to help us develop character. It says in James 1:3, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” At other times, however, God’s testing is meant to expose our character. In love God often puts us through a test so we can have a more accurate view of ourselves and areas we need more maturity.
Anytime God asks someone a question in the Bible, he never asked because he didn’t know the answer. Rather, he asked so that person would become aware of the answer. The most famous example of this occurred in Genesis 3:9 when God called out to Adam after he had sinned, “Where are you?” God obviously knew where Adam was, but God wanted Adam to realize where Adam was.
Likewise, God puts us through tests that give us a more accurate view of ourselves. Perhaps before the need for social distancing occurred you felt like your contentment in Christ was just fine, that you had enough joy from God, and that you didn’t really need to press any further into your walk with the Lord. But now that all your other relationships have been temporarily stripped away, God is showing you how dependent you have been on others for your happiness rather than on God himself.
There’s no shame here. God is not angry at you. Rather, God is simply offering all of us an invitation to grow even more with him through this difficult season of social distancing.
For more on this subject, you can read the article, 3 Signs God Is Testing You.
2. If You Have Sensed God Calling You to Spend More Time in Prayer, God Could Be Giving You This Season of Social Distancing to Establish a New Daily Prayer Routine
As Christians we need to find the right biblical balance between being gracious towards ourselves because we know we are on the path of sanctification while also being firm enough with ourselves so we keep pressing upwards into new heights with the Lord. Prayer is one of the areas in life where we will never stop growing. You can never pray enough. You can always experience more goodness with God in prayer.
But again, this should not result in an unhealthy guilt where you always feel bad because you are not praying more. Rather, we just want to keep pressing in daily with the Lord. God wants us to live active lives as we prayerfully stay connected to him moment to moment. But there are also seasons in life where God wants us to take a “timeout” (so to speak) from our daily routines and spend even more defined times in prayer with him.
If you’ve been sensing God leading you to reestablish an even better prayer routine and daily devotional time, perhaps God wants you to use this season of social distancing specifically for that purpose. In 1 Corinthians 7:5 God lays out a healthy principle for married people that can give all people some counsel on this matter. It states:
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Here Paul is telling a husband and wife that they need each other. But sometimes it’s healthy to take some time a part so the two of them can specifically refocus on God. Generally speaking, this principle applies beyond just a husband and wife.
God would never tell a Christian to permanently disconnect from other Christians just as God would never tell a husband and wife that. God made us all to need healthy relationships. The church is made up of many members and without each other we are incomplete as a church. Sometimes, however, it is good to separate; but not just to separate – to separate specifically for the purpose of intensified prayer.
Just as a fast from food is meant to help us focus more on God instead of being satisfied with a meal, time away from other people can also give us time to reestablish our primary joy in the Lord.
3. If This Social Distancing Is Forcing You to Disconnect from Someone You Know God Does Not Want You to Be With, This Is a Sign God Wants to Use This Time to Reconnect Your Heart to His
If you know you have been fostering a connection with someone that God does not want you to be with, the Lord could be seeking to use this time of social distancing to help you break off this unhealthy relationship or relationship desire. As 1 John 2:15-17 teaches us:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
As this pandemic reminds us, “the world is passing away.” Our time here is short. God does not want us wasting our lives by living in worldliness. If you have sensed God leading you away from a relationship that is hurting your walk with God rather than helping it, perhaps God is using this time of social distancing to reconnect your heart to his.