Isolation

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NASB).

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).

As I write this I am halfway through a two-week-long self-quarantine due to having traveled back to the U.S. from Asia and because of the rapid spread of the Corona Virus or Covid-19. Though this quarantine began as a recommendation, and was limited to a two-week period, the situation has changed considerably. In my state there is not yet a legally mandated “shut-down” of travel and other activities, but that could be imposed at any time. My quarantine may be extended considerably, as will that of most in this country.

Loneliness is not generally a problem for me. I can be fairly content by myself for reasonable periods of time. But total isolation is certainly not my preferred condition. At this point I am especially grateful for a loving spouse with whom I am sharing this two-week quarantine. Cabin fever is less of a threat when one has someone else with whom to share.

The Bible is clear that humankind was created to be “social animals.” That is, we like and need the company of others of our own kind. Pets are wonderful, but they don’t completely fill that need (Genesis 2:19-20). God in his wisdom created two humans, differing in gender, and by so doing created marriage and the home. Only then did he observe all that he had done and proclaim it, “Very good” (Genesis 1:31). This first social institution led eventually to many others.

Wise Solomon proclaimed, “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). There are strict limits to what one person alone can accomplish. When united with others of compatible minds and abilities, those limits are extended greatly. When God saw the work done by the descendants of Noah after the flood he stated, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6). It is wonderful what even a small group working in harmony can accomplish.

This quarantine is necessary, and hopefully, by God’s grace, it will be effective in limiting the spread and devastation of the Corona Virus. But it also helps us to recognize the blessing we have in our relationships with family, friends, and fellow Christians. We may be forced to isolate ourselves for a time, but we can remain in close contact via our phones, the internet, and other technology. And when the time comes that gatherings are again feasible we can enjoy direct company even more than before. Let us pray that time comes quickly.

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