Have you had to self-isolate at some point since the pandemic began? Maybe you contracted the virus and had to keep away from others until you recovered. Perhaps you had to stay home or in quarantine for a couple of weeks while awaiting test results or returning from overseas. Maybe you live in an area that’s been locked down or you’ve had restrictions placed on how much you can go out or where you can go.
Being isolated due to the pandemic has been tough. You may have felt varying degrees of sadness, fear, anxiety, frustration, stress, loneliness, inconvenience, disappointment or just plain boredom.
But spare a thought for those who were isolated before all of this began. Elderly people who’ve lost their life partners. Those who have chronic illnesses or disabilities that make it difficult to go out or make plans in advance. People who don’t have supportive family or friends.
In our reading today, the Apostle Paul notes a blessing that can come from difficult circumstances.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (vv. 3-4).
In one sense, the effects of pandemic-related isolation cannot compare to what some people have been going through for months or years. However, recent events have hopefully made us all a bit more empathetic and compassionate towards others. If God has comforted us in our troubles, we now have something to pass on to those in need. Let’s keep exercising those empathy muscles well beyond the end of the pandemic.
Dear Lord, thank you that you’ve been by our sides to comfort us during these trying times. Help us to use these experiences to reach out to our isolated brothers and sisters with the comfort you have so graciously given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Q1 Read Hebrews 4:14-16. How does it help you to know that Jesus can sympathise with you in your weaknesses?
Q2 Is there an isolated person you could reach out to this week through a visit (if safe), phone call, letter or other means?