The COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives all over the globe. Some have simply moved their work to a home office. Others have lost jobs, businesses, even loved ones.
One term that we never used to hear, but now plasters the headlines, is social distancing. Social distancing, in short, is maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other in order to slow and/or prevent the spread of germs.
No one is saying COVID-19 is a good thing. However, in times of darkness, looking for the light can give us hope and helps us remember that God can use all things for good (Romans 8:28).
Here are seven blessings that can come from social distancing.
1. Social Distancing Helps Us Slow Down
No sports, few errands, no after-school clubs, no driving to meetings. During COVID-19, everything has slowed down to the essential. Instead of rushing around to destination after destination, in many places, people are only allowed to leave their dwelling places to purchase necessities, like groceries.
One activity that is encouraged for those who are not city-dwellers is enjoying the outdoors. Because of this, it doesn’t matter what time of day I go walking; I see more people out on the desert path than I’ve ever seen before. Those around me suddenly have time to take a walk with their significant other or a bike ride with their children.
The other day, I stood alone in a field of wildflowers for five minutes, in no hurry, simply breathing in their sweet scent and appreciating the way they danced in the breeze. A butterfly flitted by, and I breathed a prayer of worship to God.
My family has done more gardening than we have in years. Friends are learning new skills or breaking out old hobbies. Those I know are becoming more intentional about scheduling phone calls and video calls to connect. Even those in complete lockdown are standing on their balconies to sing songs.
Our lives can be so hectic and busy that we don’t have a chance to slow down, rest, think, and appreciate God’s tiny, wildflower blessings.
2. Social Distancing Forces Us to Spend Time with Family
For some, this isn’t such a blessing. Some home environments are unhealthy. Meanwhile, others are separated from elderly family members for their safety.
However, for others, social distancing has provided a unique opportunity to connect with those that live in their home. While all stuck together, families come up with activities, talk, and get to know the people around them who have been so busy or gone so often that sometimes it feels like they hardly see each other.
3. Social Distancing Helps Us Be Intentional about Relationships
It’s easy to say hello to a coworker in the office or the shop, or to a peer in class. However, to speak with others during social distancing, it requires intentionality, a conscious decision to text, call, or video chat. When physically separated from others, we realize how much their company really meant. We gain an appreciation for the friends, family, coworkers, and peers that we have.
4. Social Distancing Unites Us with the World
This pandemic has affected not just one region, or one country, but the world. On Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and other social platforms, ordinary people from all over the globe commiserate or post humorous “Day # of Quarantine” videos.
In this situation, the world, for once, is united against one foe. We are reminded that we are all human, all created and loved by God, and not as different, as we sometimes like to think.
5. Social Distancing Reminds Us What Really Matters
We can survive without sports, without cubicles, without going out to restaurants. With social distancing, we’re limited to our family and our necessities.
It is more important to keep our families and others healthy than it is to go out and live our normal lives.
We’re reminded how precious life is, and how many things we can truly do without.
6. Social Distancing Helps Us to Appreciate Those Who Can’t Social Distance
Doctors and nurses on the front lines deserve our respect and gratitude. They are making great sacrifices to save lives.
However, new heroes have also arisen. Grocery store clerks, factory workers, and even Amazon distributors have historically been overlooked. Now, we realize how absolutely essential these people are for our society to function.
What would we do if the staff of our local grocery refused to show up? If farmers and manufacturers decided to stop shipping food and supplies?
We’re finally realizing just how much we owe each and every member of society.
Perhaps, when this is over, we’ll have more compassion. Perhaps we won’t stop calling them heroes. Perhaps we’ll treat these essential workers with the respect they deserve.
7. Social Distancing Gives Us an Opportunity to Witness
In this uncertain time, how will we as Christians react? Will we panic? Will we fight over toilet paper? Will we stress-eat our quarantine stockpile and bemoan the end of the world?
Or will we remain calm and put our trust in God? Will we show compassion, and help those in need? Will we put others before ourselves?
Will we continue to make God-honoring choices and use this time to build our relationship with Christ and those we live with?
When the world feels like it’s falling apart, eyes are turned toward Christians. How we act reflects on our faith. Will we display the peace and comfort to be found through faith in Jesus, or will we act as if our God is not big enough to look after us in a time of crisis?
People need hope that this world can’t give, hope that can only be found through a loving God who rules over all, and cares for even the wildflowers and the sparrows (Matthew 6:26-30).
In the end, COVID-19 has caused some terrible things. However, we can see that God continues to pour out blessings in all things if we are willing to look.
©iStock/Getty Images Plus/yacobchuk
Alyssa Roat studied writing, theology, and the Bible at Taylor University. She is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, and a freelance editor with Sherpa Editing Services. Her passions for Biblical study and creativity collide in her writing. Her debut novel Wraithwood releases Nov. 7, 2020. She has had 150+ bylines in publications ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids. Find out more about her here and on social media @alyssawrote.