“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:12-13 ESV
I am not as strong as my dogs so I have been practicing social distancing for many years. If I see another dog coming when we are out for a walk, I turn and go another way. If someone on a bicycle is heading our way, I change directions. It is not because I’m antisocial but it is because our dogs, Burt and Lucy, want to meet and greet all passersby and I can’t always control the outcome of tangled leashes and dirty paws.
Social distancing is described as a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. Social distancing was not something unheard of even in Jesus’ day. Leper colonies are historically a place to quarantine people with the disease of leprosy. Lepers were social outcasts and Luke tells us that they stood afar off but they lifted up their voices to Jesus. They begged for his healing and his mercy. From a distance, Jesus heard their cries and did have mercy on them. He healed them and they went their way praising God.
Many of us have been distancing ourselves from God for years. We are separated from Him due to sin in our lives but he hears our cries no matter how far away we are. Psalm 50:15 tells us to call on God in the day of trouble and he will deliver us. He tells his people in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to humble themselves and pray and seek his face and turn from their wicked ways, then he will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.
You don’t have to keep your distance from God. He is near to all who call on his name. He is waiting to hear from you and me. Up close and personal is the safest place to be when it is you and Jesus!