Relentless and repetitive, COVID rules firmly announce their power, extending into our new year. Signs are everywhere for the three rules:
- Wear a mask.
- Wash your hands.
- Wait 6 feet apart.
As Christians, we can be encouraged during these fear-filled times by allowing these three rules to become spiritual reminders of daily power for living from the Lord.
First Spiritual COVID Rule: Wear Your Mask.
I knew that look. He’d forgotten his mask.
Hungry, On a mission. Mouth-watering aromas. But he turned around to retrieve the obligatory face-covering.
Many times, the Bible uses word pictures, types, and symbols to explain spiritual concepts. The Holy Spirit is like wind, fire, and water. God’s Word cleanses like water and feeds us with manna in the wilderness. Jesus was as a lamb led to the slaughter for our sins.
We who believe in Jesus walk through our physical life with our eyes on eternity with our Savior. As people of faith, we hope for what we do not see and believe that our faith will become sight. Seeking to understand our spiritual heritage becomes life’s goal, and seeing life through the Bible lens is a reflex.
My husband’s many trips back to his truck for the important fabric oval reminds me of Isaiah 61:3. Word pictures abound, but the idea of being gifted with a garment meant to cover, protect, and nourish fascinates me. A “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” lifts me above my earthly troubles with its glorious beauty and rich thick folds of joy.
Through 57 years of knowing Christ, I’ve observed and experienced that praise weaves its comforting healing layers around my troubles and gently cocoons my world-weary soul. Praise shields me from the darkness of depression, fear, and anxiety. And, within its folds, I discover delightful distractions from life’s harshness.
Try on the garment of praise and feel the softness of its touch; revel in the perfect fit, and enjoy the beauty it adds to your spiritual wardrobe. As you slip on a mask to gain entrance into public buildings during COVID times, remember the importance of praising the Lord. Praise heals, creates hope, and heightens the joy of faith.
Second Spiritual COVID Rule: Wash Your Hands.
My palms waited patiently underneath the soap dispenser at the doctor’s office. After several seconds, I realized that the spout was higher on the big box. I dutifully held both hands underneath the opening, and the foam flew across my flat palms and landed on the edge of the sink and floor. I laughed and tried again, cupping them this time. I counted the recommended 20 seconds and washed my hands in the warm water until my skin glowed with cleanliness.
Water symbolizes cleansing in the Bible. Second Kings 5:14 immerses us in the miracle of Naaman’s restored health. He commanded Syria’s great host of soldiers, but he was consumed with leprosy. Elisha instructed him to dip in the Jordan River seven times, and his skin was disease-free. Luke 5:1-10 describes the healing waters at Bethesda. And we enter a story of healing through Jesus instructing a blind man to wash in the pool of Siloam in John 21:1-14.
Stories about water naturally create a rich delta in Ephesians 5:26. This verse talks about Christ who sanctifies and cleanses His disciples through “the washing of water by the word.” We wash our hands frequently, obeying the signs. But sanitizing is a reminder that spiritual washing through Bible reading, memorization, and study cleanses our minds of worry and sets us apart from the fears of today. (I counted the seconds required to say the whole verse. You can say Ephesians 5:26 THREE TIMES in about 20 seconds!)
Try it. The next time you turn on the faucet, say this verse and reflect on its truth. As we cup our hands under the fountain of living water, we wash away the germs from daily living.
Third Spiritual COVID Rule: Wait Apart From Others.
A new culture of waiting in our cars and standing six feet apart in line awaits us in the new year, at least until we get through the pandemic. Isolation became the new threat to peace and happiness in 2020, and we see its effects in 2021. The Bible switches the idea of waiting physically to a spiritual meaning with such verses as Isaiah 40:31. The promise begins, “They that wait upon the Lord” and continues by declaring the power that comes from waiting.
What are these perks of the pandemic wait? We look around while we’re waiting and observe things that we wouldn’t normally notice. We talk to people outside our circles. Our mutual concern with COVID enables us to discuss numbers, vaccines, and regulations with strangers as we wait. Professionals such as teachers notice more about their children with smaller class sizes and can get to know them better through small virtual meetings.
Perhaps the slower pace during these uncertain times enriches our lives with the ability to point others to Jesus while they wait. Spending precious time in God’s presence during times of isolation enriches our relationship with Him. The opportunities to linger in prayer, to learn more about God, and to vaccinate our souls with His Word become priceless memories.
We can notice Jesus illuminated in our isolation and draw closer to Him while being forced to distance from others. Mark 9:2 tells us that Jesus took three disciples apart, separating them, and they saw Jesus transfigured, glorified, and full of power.
May we see Jesus and marvel at his shining presence in stark contrast to our raging fear and division. During our alone times, we can linger in His amazing presence, waiting on Him for the strength and power to fly above the storm of the pandemic and seeing the Lord, high and lifted up!
As we follow the pandemic rules for wearing a mask, washing our hands, and waiting apart, let these be spiritual reminders. Wear the garment of praise. Wash our souls clean with His Word. Wait on Him and enjoy His presence.
Marlene Houk is an author, teacher of Bible studies and member of AWSA.