I am not sure when the term social distancing was created but the first time I heard it was March 2020. It has been a recommendation and now it is moving into a necessity. The world has been upended by the need for quarantine and our hearts are reeling from the effects of social distancing.
While I realize that these things are necessary, it doesn't lighten the mood knowing that we are separated from our church friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even parts of our family. Yet in the midst of it all, we can find the good in all of these things.
The old adage reminds us, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." A true statement because, I believe, absence makes us recognize the things that we have taken for granted. As Americans, especially, we take for granted the conveniences that we have. We often take for granted the relationships we are engaged in. There are many people who have a hard time with certain people at work but they might be to see them again when they get back to the office.
Social distancing helps us to realize that God created man to walk through life together. In the book of Genesis, God said, "It is not good that man should be alone." Of course, this was speaking of marriage, but it also holds true that we definitely need relationships. Thus, we see the importance of having a church family and valuing the family you have at home.
In these trying days where we feel disconnected, why not utilize the technology we have and reach out to others. Call, text, email, Facetime or video call someone that you are missing. Most of us are longing to see our friends again and we can whine and groan about the situation that we have found ourselves in. But our response should be that of gratefulness. At least you have some good relationships that you value. At least there are those you love and those who love you.
The Apostle Paul was very candid with his words of longing for his dear friend Timothy. He said, "I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again." (2 Timothy 1:4 NLT) I long to see you again...I will be filled with joy when we are together again. Indeed, absence makes the heart grow fonder. When you think of others, reach out and let them know you are thinking of them. It is easy to sink into introversion in a time of social distancing. In 2020, however, when we are distant in person, we still have means to connect, though we are not face to face.
Danny and his wife, Sonya, have been lead pastors at Rogers First Assembly in Rogers, Arkansas since 2008.