Reflections with Jeremy Alger

We are living in unusual times. There are psychological effects that this pandemic is having on most or all of us that we don’t really have the prior experience to know how to navigate. Many of us are depressed. Many of us are feeling lonely. The different rules and simply the reality of the world that we live in leaves us feeling like we aren’t able to truly connect with many people.
For some of us the idea of being separate or distant from other people is an instant nightmare. Others of us thought the concept had a nice ring to it for a while. Eventually even the most introverted of us come to a place of wanting some human interaction. I read an interesting quote that spoke to both the value and the detriment that this kind of separation can have on us. It said that solitude is a gift from God, but isolation is a tool of the devil.
Scripture clearly lines up with this idea. Jesus made a habit of slipping away for the crowds to find time to pray and have solitude. He was clearly refreshed and strengthened in those moments so they he could continue to work of salvation that he was accomplishing on earth. But way back in the Garden of Eden God saw Adam and concluded that it was not good for man to be alone. Genesis tells us that that is the reason that God made Eve to be Adam’s helpmate and companion.
The story of the garden and the birth of sin as both Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit point out that Eve was not with Adam when she was first tempted. That means that the two of them spent time in solitude as well as spending time together. A balance and a practice of unity and personal privacy are the best was to find peace within ourselves.
As the pandemic continues (and hopefully concludes soon) we need to be intentional about how we view and practice this separation from one another. If we choose to engage in the solitude and grow within ourselves and share time with God, we will be strengthened in the process. If we curse the isolation and lament for all that we are missing we will leave ourselves vulnerable to further attacks from the enemy.
If you are experiencing more isolation than solitude let me encourage and remind you that we have not been stopped. Just as the church has adapted to finding ways to have services, and to have community, we as individuals are still capable of connecting with one another. Our phones don’t have COVID. The internet isn’t quarantined. The US Postal Service is still delivering cards and letters alongside the bills and credit card offers.
You can and should reach out to people. Maybe make a list of people that you don’t normally contact, but that you have missed because you haven’t bumped into them in a while. Reach out to a few and see if they too would like to connect. Wouldn’t it be incredible if 2021 became the year of the pen pal? If your spirit is aching for the connections that you are used to, please don’t just wait for things to get back to normal, you are worth the effort required to make a connection in a new way!
Jeremy Alger is the pastor of the New Cumberland Church of the Nazarene. For more information please visit