I think the biggest surprise of the “Covid-19 Lock-down,” has been the emotional toll it’s taken. I feel like the isolation from people has left me in a spiritual battle in my mind, unlike anything I’ve experienced before. That sounds so dramatic… but in all honesty as the weeks tick on, and the end date of isolation seems never-ending I continue to wrestle inwardly with lies that would otherwise have been called out in the presence of other believers. It brings to light where scripture talks about the importance of living in community. Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” While living in a virtual community to meet together has been helpful in some senses, it’s left me longing to be in face to face community with fellow believers again. Can words of encouragement be shared virtually? Sure, we’ve had many messages of encouragement over the last few weeks and many people lovingly checking in to see how we’re doing. In all the years we’ve lived overseas, I’ve never chatted virtually as much as I have these last few weeks. The reality is though, the face to face conversations, the gentle touch of another human, the back cracking hug of a loving friend are all missing in this virtual world. Instead, we are faced with the awkwardness of talking to a computer screen, and a little box with our own face reflecting back to us our usually never regarded facial flaws. Our flustered selves are hidden away behind the walls of our homes, where no one can see that we’re slowly losing our mind as we try to deal with the new, ever-present reality of forced isolation. James 1:2-4 says “Consider it great joy when you experience various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance do it’s complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” Am I allowing myself to take this time to reflect on how much I’ve allowed myself to rely on the body of believers to spur me on instead of actually taking the time to meditate and dwell on God’s word and how He alone should be my source of joy and strength? I confess I’ve allowed myself to find my joy and purpose in the body, and not in Christ. It’s lead me to place where my mind has been taken captive by the whispers of the enemy as he murmurs in my ear “you’re failing as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter. You will never amount to a place that is worthy of the forgiveness that’s been extended to you.” This trial and persecution I’m facing today is one that I must continue to give over to the Lord, reminding myself that “God alone is my hiding place, He protects me from trouble. He surrounds me with joyful shouts of deliverance.” (psalm 32:7) Being reminded of His victorious triumph over sin and lies in my life is the only way in which I can overcome the spiritual battle I’m currently finding myself in. He allows all things to work together for His goodness and glory, so will I allow Him to do that through this circumstance? I must rest in knowing that God is still sovereign and that none of this has taken him by surprise, including my reactions to this new reality.