I can only imagine what it would be like (and I’m not quoting a song) if real-life, honest-to-goodness shepherds had to deal with things the way we pastors are having to these days. Just think about it:
- Sheep in the field, day in and day out, wandering around six feet apart.
- The shepherd having to set up a large screen in the pasture so he can live-stream commands.
- Each sheep getting it’s own cell number so the shepherd could make individual calls.
- “How are you doing today, Fluffy?” “It’s baaaaaad, Shepherd! Could I trade you my wool for some toilet paper?”
Thankfully, I’ve not received any distressing news from the church members I’ve called. Nevertheless, making phone calls and sending notes through the mail is about the only way I can personally stay in contact with my “sheep.” It’s alienating.
But, just like I said a moment ago to a dear lady in our church – her name is June – “at least I’m not in a jail cell.”
It really all comes down to perspective, you know? If we sit and dwell on how limited we are, about how much we can’t do during this time of self-isolation (quarantine), then things will only get more nerve-wracking. Now, more than ever, we need to be looking for silver linings.
No, I might not be able to visit with people in my congregation, have people over for dinner and a game night, or simply go out to dinner and movie with my wife, but at least I’m not locked up in a 6×8 ft. jail or prison cell! Seriously, things could be a lot worse!
I don’t know about you, but I can still eat when I want, play with my dog, go to the grocery store, and even go to my office at the church (where I am now). When I’m home I can sleep in my own bed, wear whatever I want, and not have to worry about dropping soap in the shower.
Really, things could be a lot worse than “social distancing”… Try social abandonment.
The Ultimate Quarantine
So, this got me to thinking about something else, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it. When I was thinking about being isolated, alone, quarantined, and abandoned … and when I tried to think about what could be worse than what we are experiencing, even jail … I thought of something else:
If you think about if for just a moment, hell is the epitome of social distancing, quarantining, and literal abandonment. It’s even worse than the worst prison cell.
Prison cells do have beds, running water (even if it’s from the back of a toilet), regular meals, air conditioning, and in most cases, hope. Not so with hell.
Actually, aside from the lack of amenities, probably the worst aspect of an eternity in Hades is the idea of being utterly alone in one’s suffering and regret. Totally…forever…never a kind voice…never a tear of compassion…never look of pity… alone.
I’m glad I still have my freedom and am not locked up somewhere. But I’m even more thankful that, worse comes to worse, should things get so bad I even die from COVID-19, at least I’m not alone (God’s always with me) and because of Jesus, I’ll never have to go to hell!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
Yep, things could be worse. Time to binge-watch something else.