As we contend with this time of unrest, uncertainty and insecurity, there is a cunning foe afoot: separation anxiety. Allow me to prove my statement. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused one common complaint in the voice of many phrases – “We want to go out, we need to get out, we want our freedom to mingle.” What is the subconscious outcry? Simply that we do not want to be separated from each other! There is now an expressed cry for fellowship ‘by any means necessary’ via parties, gathering together, cookouts, going to bars, etc., regardless of the consequences of contracting and/or spreading disease.
This is a turn-around in the sense that a few months ago we were engrossed with being alone, as witnessed by our obsession with video games, texting, and social media. We wanted to be separate yet connected. Now we are suffering from separation anxiety. We are longing to be together again. Funny how God’s Word proves itself true. God said it is not good for man to be alone and we should not forsake fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters (Gen. 2:18, Heb. 10:25).
We are creatures that need to be connected. Loneliness can cause illness, both mental and physical. Solitary confinement, exile, marooning, quarantine, stranding and desertion can be used as punishment because of their effects.
As a nurse, being frontline during this pandemic, I can see how forced separation affects the psyche of the elderly, close friends, and family units when they cannot visit, touch, or interact with each other. Healing is slower, depression is heightened, and fear is magnified.
I can also see how this was designed for evil, but God is using it for good (Gen. 50:20). The initial design was to separate us from each other. The avenue – people sitting right next to each other texting instead of interacting, children cutting themselves off from reality as they go into virtual gaming. I’m not saying at all that you can’t play games or text, what I am saying is it was becoming increasingly abnormal in a sense. We were becoming desensitized to human interaction. More emotion was expressed for our pets than for our own brothers and sisters. Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. More separation! People used terms such as ‘forced’ to spend time with family, ‘have to’ stay home for 14 days. There was resentment, anger and impatience in having to be around each other.
Separation anxiety has caused division nationwide. It drives us to point out our differences and react instead of respond. We should celebrate what makes us unique. God poured a little of this and a little of that into every living soul. We were created in His likeness—to do what? To commune! The God who loves us is using this opportunity to allow us to see the need for each other and the need to turn to Him.
- First, we were told we could not fellowship in a church building. This woke some up, in light of the fact that being able to fellowship had been taken for granted.
- Secondly, our elderly, who many times feels lonely and left out, couldn’t share their wisdom since they were locked down for safety—they were taken for granted too.
- Thirdly, our families were taken for granted. Many were too busy to notice the children were growing up and the spouses were drifting apart. The divorce rate at one point was increasing because of spending ‘too much time’ together.
- Fourthly, people of every nation, creed, and color were attacked for many a reason. Looking deeper within, unity is now trying to birth as we see our differences are really not so different. Though we may have different life challenges, we are all human. We are all God’s children.
Time in fellowship has begun to teach us and heal us. Forsake not the fellowship with God and with each other. Take time to spend with Our Heavenly Father. Study to show ourselves approved, get to know the Father. Rekindle that love and thirst for Him during this time. There is much to pray for. There is much to thank Him for.
Then look to each other. Learn about each other. Put the texting away and pick up the telephone. Let a voice be heard with a kind word on the other end. Grandma needs to hear from you. Wife needs to get a call from husband asking “How are you?” Video chat with the neighbor. Pull out a board game with the children. Encourage your servant leader, they really need it now. This is all called MINISTRY.
Separation anxiety is set in fear and fear is not from Almighty God. But power, love, and sound-mindedness are. (2 Tim. 1:7) We have the power to do what is right by each other. We have love to cover the multitude of faults, because God is love. We have a sound mind because we can have the mind of Christ.
As you ponder these words, pray for unity, fellowship, and understanding. God is waiting for us to draw even closer to Him and we need each other even more than we think.