A Virus put us in “Time out.” What are we going to learn in there?
When my kids were little we had a “time out’ system. If they had done the wrong thing, or things really got out of control l would send them to “time out”. I am pretty sure it is standard practice in most households. It is a time when you must be isolated, on your own and have time to think, re-think and calm down. There was always accountability connected to it, with an expectation that your behaviour would change, and of course be better than when you were first sent to this space. I found it a very powerful tool for all involved, including me, the parent. Sometimes you really need to be able to have some space to stop and think about how you should proceed, so it brings us closer together and not further apart.
To be honest, at any age of life, this is a good practice to live by. It is just when children are young and they don't have the self-control or self-discipline to manage this process, that the ‘supposed’ more mature ones help create this boundary for them. As the parent I had been known to put myself into ‘time out’ and leave the kids to their own devices, which often had some interesting outcomes.
Deuteronomy 6 speaks of how we are to live our lives in abundance and in reverence to God. The famous promise is outlined to “Love God, your God, with your whole heart: Love Him with all that’s in you. Love Him with all you’ve got” (Deut 6:5 MSG).
Then because He knew we would forget it, He gave four keys to get it inside your hearts. He commanded that we: Talk about it wherever you are, sitting at home, walking in the street, talk about it in the morning, when you rise and the in the evening when you fall into bed. Place reminders wherever you can to make sure it happens. (v 6-9)
In this pandemic all we really have is our sitting at home, walking (two by two), our sleeping and waking. It is like the Virus has given us a BIG TIME OUT. I am not saying that we personally have done something wrong to deserve our TIME OUT. But the world has definitely got some serious things going wrong in order for everyone to be sent to their rooms.
And yet I am encouraged that even in this TIME OUT, we can carry on with God’s commands in order to have an abundant and full life. I know it is hard for some people to comprehend this, but to Love God with our whole heart and all we have, is actually one of the only things we can do right now. Isn't it cool that just when we think, “how are we going to go to ‘Church’ and be the light to the World?” that maybe He is reminding us that the four simple things he asked us to do, we can still do. And all He is asking us to do is to be obedient to that.
I wonder if in this time to re-think, calm down and pause that we might miss the greatest chance to change our behaviour. I wonder if during this TIME OUT, God might be wanting to teach us more about HIM. During this TIME OUT, wouldn't it be great, if we learned that in a world that is out of control, God is never out of control. In a world that is ever changing, God has never changed, and his commandments in Deuteronomy 6 are now more relevant and doable that ever before.
When my kids did not change their behaviour when they left their rooms, they went straight back in. Even if they didn't like it or agree, they knew they had to make changes for the better if they wanted the chance to get out and do what they wanted to do. I hope we learn from this what God is wanting to teach us. That we bring the ‘best of us’ out of our rooms and live in a way that shows that we do love the Lord our God with our whole heart and with all we have got. And that is all He is asking of us, because I believe He can really use that to make a difference in this broken world.
I HOPE that when we are able to finally come out of our rooms that we don't go back to the old behaviours and what we thought was important. I HOPE that we rise to be better people, a better generation, a stronger world; a world where we value all people, we treat all people equally and we care for the least of these, whenever we get the chance.
Deuteronomy 6:1-5 MSG
“This is the commandment, the rules and regulations, that God, your God, commanded me to teach you to live out in the land you’re about to cross into to possess. This is so that you’ll live in deep reverence before God lifelong, observing all his rules and regulations that I’m commanding you, you and your children and your grandchildren, living good long lives.
Listen obediently, Israel. Do what you’re told so that you’ll have a good life, a life of abundance and bounty, just as God promised, in a land abounding in milk and honey.
God, our God! God the one and only!
Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!”