As Americans practice social isolation to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, there is something to be learned from our spiritual ancestors. Namely, this is a test.

Under Joshua, Israel possessed the Promised Land by dispossessing their enemies. But not all their enemies were defeated. While God’s people experienced victory, running in the background was God – who was directly responsible for their streak of wins. Why not defeat them all?

God says in Judges 3:1 These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.

Previous generations had experienced the mental, emotional and physical toughness of going to battle. They had engaged their enemies. Likewise, generations of Americans have known the rigors of war. It has been devastating.

As of January 31, the war has come to us. Not in the form of a physical enemy. But an unseen, infectious type. An invader has been introduced. It has proven lethal for the elderly and those whose immune systems have been compromised. It has wreaked havoc with our economy, with many out of work. While our elected officials are urging calm, in many places panic and hoarding have replaced kindness and generosity. How will we respond?

We have had viruses before, some more deadly than this. However, this virus is different;

it testing the character of our country. It is testing our character as Christ’s followers.

I encourage you to use this time of social isolation to spiritually engage. Less TV, more Scriptures. Spend time connecting with the heart of God in prayer. Encourage each other by texts and phone calls. Check in on your neighbors. Find a need and meet it. Listen to worship music (we are putting together a playlist for the Pandemic). Invite people to join you online as you watch our services. Be part of a virtual Lifegroup. This is a test…will you connect with God, each other, and your neighbors during this time of social distancing.

Peace in the pandemic,