Be Still and Don’t Waste Your Quarantine
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and challenged the believers to “redeem the time” because the days were evil. But what did he mean by “redeeming the time?” Well, if something is redeemed, it is purchased or bought back. This is what the Lord Jesus did for his people through his sacrificial death on the cross; he purchased them by paying the price for their sins. And so when Paul says to redeem the time, it is as if he is saying “Buy your time back and take hold of it. Seize every minute God has given you and do so by his grace and for his glory.”
In recent days, I have been pondering this exhortation from our friend Paul. As many of you know, I have been in quarantine after exposure to COVID 19 (I am tremendously thankful that I have yet to show any symptoms). The situation is not ideal or preferred, but it is a situation permitted by God. And so while in this season quarantine, how can I “redeem the time?”
Be Still and Listen – It would have been easy for me to spend much of my quarantine distracted by the endless noise of social media, news networks and radio podcasts. But there are seasons to simply be quiet, and for me, this has been one of those seasons. Quarantine has been an opportune time to turn down the noise and redeem the time for His glory. Dear child of God, you can be rest assured that the roaring silence of God’s presence will overwhelm you if you are willing to listen. Just ask the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:9-18).
Be Still and See – This year we have all asked ourselves, “What in the world is God doing?” I have asked this question throughout the entire year, especially during quarantine. And it’s certainly a valid question; for no one has ever experienced a year like 2020. From a global pandemic to social upheaval and political unrest, it has been a year for the history books. With all of the chaos swirling around us, it is easy to feel as if the world is falling apart. Yet we must find comfort in knowing God is sovereignly in control. Instead of complaining about current events, we must rest in his providential care and look for his fingerprints upon this particular chapter of human history. To be sure, God is up to something; but it just might be that he is orchestrating world events beyond our scope of reasoning. Moses told the people of God at the Red Sea to simply be still and see what the Lord was about to do (Exodus 14:13). Oh that we would heed the same advice!
Be Still and Know – Finally, I have redeemed the time by diving into the book of Isaiah, and quietly gleaning wisdom from the writings of John Flavel (1627–1691) and Jeremiah Burroughs (1600–1646). The hot chocolate has been sweet, the ink in my journal has been fresh, and the flicker of the flame has been comforting. I have also saturated myself in the Greek New Testament by studying vocabulary, grammatical rules, and aorist indicative paradigms. Why do I spend my quarantine doing these things? I do so to know God in a greater and deeper way. God has ordained this study routine in my life for such a time as this (Esther 4:14) and it has been the perfect time for me to simply be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
I pray God protects you from COVID 19. But it just might be that God does permit a season of quarantine in your life, whether in sickness or in health. If that is the case, be still before God and don’t waste your quarantine!
– Pastor Eric