During this time of quarantine/isolation I often notice some people mentioning that they are bored or that their children are bored. They have seemingly run out of games to play or can find nothing that interests their children or hold the children’s attention for more than a few moments. While I understand the frustration I also believe there is a solution to the problem. In fact, I believe there are probably several solutions to this problem, depending on the age and educational level of those so affected.
Many years ago there was a man who found himself in the position of having his freedom of movement severely restricted. During that time he still found multiple ways to keep himself busy and relevant in his chosen field.
At the conclusion of his third missionary journey the apostle Paul found himself in the city of Jerusalem. He was in that city of his own free will. In fact, he had hurried his journey in order that he might be in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16). But his freedom of movement was about to be severely curtailed. Due to an assumption and misrepresentation on the part of his enemies Paul was arrested by the Roman garrison in Jerusalem (Acts 21:26-36; 22:22-29).
After a relatively short stay in the prison at Jerusalem arrangements were made for Paul’s transfer to the Roman prison at Caesarea due to a plot against his life (Acts 23:11-35). At Caesarea Paul used his opportunities to plead his case before governors and kings to preach the gospel. He tried to persuade Felix, the Roman governor (Acts 24:24, 25). He tried to persuade Felix’s successor, Festus, as well as king Agrippa and their wives (Acts 25 & 26).
We know that Paul was held in prison in Caesarea for at least two years before being transferred to Rome (Acts 24:27) and that once in Rome he remained under house arrest while being guarded by a squad of soldiers for at least another two years (Acts 28:30). In both those locations Paul continued to do all the good he could for the cause of Christ. It was during this time that he wrote the New Testament letters that are traditionally referred to as the “Prison Epistles” (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon). Although it is disputed as to whether it was during this or a subsequent imprisonment it is also apparent that the second letter to Timothy was also written from prison. Thus, even though Paul’s mobility was restricted he still found ways to encourage, inform, and instruct people concerning the gospel of Christ.
The point is this: Even though our movements may be restricted during this present distress we have even greater and more efficient means of doing what Paul did. We can use our telephones, Facebook accounts, Instagram accounts, text messages and so much more to stay in touch with people, even though we cannot be physically in their presence. We could even sit down with pen and paper and write a letter or send a card. After all, the United States Postal Service is still up and running. We could even teach our children to do this. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our children and grandchildren took the time to write a thank you note to a grandparent who had sent them a generous gift?
Call, write, text, or whatever, but stay in touch. We all need encouragement during this time.