In Person is Better!

It’s been several months that this country, and most of the world,  has been in quarantine. While it’s true that some areas of the country have started to open up, we aren’t fully back to normal and God only knows when this will happen. In the beginning, it was something of a novelty to find a mask, wash constantly and stay inside as much as possible. People locked themselves in their houses and even vital things such as shopping at the grocery store were curtailed.

I think at the outset people were scared and the stock market, as well as the growing unemployment numbers, gave testimony to the fact that none of us had ever experienced anything like this before. A century ago, there was a flu epidemic and then in the early 1950’s, there was the growing problem with polio before the vaccine that has now all but eliminated the dreaded disease. But this current pandemic seems more widespread and many people weren’t alive to remember the polio epidemic.

There is certainly some political acrimony regarding the whole state of the country and the coronavirus. But that’s not what tonight’s post is about. Rather, it’s about how we get used to new norms and after some initial shock at the quarantine, the closing of hotels, restaurants and businesses, we kind of settled in to our new routines. And that’s the way that it has been for many weeks…

Our home was like a fortress. Janet and I were isolated for quite a while and eventually, we opened up a little to family members. Several members of our family have auto-immune issues so we were particularly careful. We have been late in getting workmen out to repair damage we sustained during a hailstorm, we carry sanitizer with us and we still cross the street whenever we meet someone walking our way.

All this goes to say that we have adjusted to a new normal – at least for the time being. But then a “funny” thing happened. We had an electrical issue and a dear friend of mine offered his help to fix the problem. Roger and I have known each other for twenty years or more. And we, along with our friend, Rich, normally have breakfast together each Monday morning. Since the quarantine, we still video conference on Monday mornings, so it’s not like we haven’t stayed in touch.

But seeing Roger in person, with appropriate social distancing, was incredibly special. It was like 3D instead of watching something on a computer screen. He helped fix the problem and I couldn’t help but appreciate the fact that we were together again – in person. Even after Roger was finished, I was struck by how great it was to see him in person and to have a close contact conversation.

And then, when I finally had to run an errand to pick up something at the hardware store, I met a new employee for the first time and he stuck out his arm to shake hands. Impulsively, I shook his hand! I haven’t done that in almost three months – and it felt a little weird! I felt like I had to go out to the car and use hand sanitizer or wash my hands right away. Once again, I was struck by the reality of the moment. Something that had been so normal months ago has changed into a new reality.

But the thing that has been rolling around in my head since these two events reminds me of Paul and his writings in the book of 1 Corinthians. Most of us have read or at least heard of the famous “love” chapter – chapter 12. But the next chapter is when Paul discusses his growth into adulthood and how we will eventually get to meet Jesus in person, face to face, when we arrive in His presence. Our verse for tonight recounts Paul’s words when he tells us, in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, ” When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

My encouragement this evening is that sooner or later, each believer will meet Jesus in person, and if our recent isolation is any indication, it will be an awesome meeting. My prayer is that we will each continue to develop our relationship with Jesus as best we can in the meantime, knowing that our face to face meetings will last through all eternity. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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