Heroes of the Bible

Pandemic Wisdom: Paul Under House Arrest

To bless other people during this siege by Covid, sometimes we need to “travel” to meet people by phone, FaceTime or Zoom. They will thank God and be encouraged. Other times, we need to be like Paul, blessing other people even though Covid has besieged us and has placed us under “house arrest”. “When [he] got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.” (Acts 28:16). “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30-31).

As we pass the 1-year anniversary of the first deaths from Covid in the United States, I thought of something that Churchill wrote (I think in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples). He said that if a fortress or city is well enough supplied and fortified to withstand a siege for a year, that’s almost always enough. The besieging army almost always gives up and goes away after a year.

After a year of being besieged by Covid, I know that I wish it would give up and go away. But instead, we’re hearing of mutated variants that are even more infectious. And the efforts to vaccinate us keep hitting speed bumps that slow them down.

Therefore, like it or not, we’re forced to find the strength and resolve to outlast this siege.

I know there are days when it seems impossible for me to endure for one more minute, much less endure for one more day.

The Claustrophobia-of-Despair smothers me.

But then, I think of this promise from the LORD our God to Israel as they prepared to enter their Promised Land: “Be strong and resolute; do not be terrified or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”. (Judges 1:9 JSB).

This same promise gives us the strength and the resolve to overcome this siege by Covid and to enter our Promised Land—the place in our life, our church, our family, our business, our nation, and our civilization where we are a blessing to all peoples.

This promise by the LORD our God reminds me of how Paul found the strength and the resolve to overcome years of imprisonment while continuing to be a blessing to all peoples.

At the end of the Book of Acts, we learn that Paul arrived in Rome to continue his imprisonment while awaiting trial by the Emperor.

Some “brothers and sisters” [who followed the Way of Jesus] traveled out from Rome to meet him. “At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged.” (Acts 28:15).

To bless other people during this siege by Covid, sometimes we need to “travel” to meet people by phone, FaceTime or Zoom. They will thank God and be encouraged.

Other times, we need to be like Paul, blessing other people even though Covid has besieged us and has placed us under “house arrest”.

“When [he] got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.” (Acts 28:16).

“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30-31).

Two whole years!

How could he stand being under house arrest for two whole years? I can barely stand being under “house arrest” after one year!

Furthermore, keep in mind that Paul had already been imprisoned for two years in Israel before being taken to Rome in a ship and getting shipwrecked along the way. (Acts 24:27; 27:1-44).

And so, like Paul—we must stay strong and resolute no matter how long it takes.

As much as possible and in ways that fit our situation and talents, we should pass our time in the ways that Paul did.

Welcoming all who come to “see” us.

Proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

And teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance.

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To read more about the many times that Paul was imprisoned, please read my blog “Places of Worship—Praying and Singing Hymns in ‘Prisons’” and the chapter “Paul and Silas Sing Hymns in the Prison in Philippi” in my book Lighting the World, at pages 97-100.

For more Pandemic Wisdom, please read my blogs “Pandemic Wisdom: Straining at the Oars”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Meditating”, “Fear Not the Pestilence That Stalks in the Darkness”,  Holding Your Hand, Hearing Your Voice”, “Pandemic Wisdom: The Faith of My Father”, “The Baby Jesus ‘Vaccine’ Is Coming”, “Irresistible Hurricanes of the Holy Spirit”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Feeding Multitudes”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Multiple Choice Exams & No-Win-Scenarios”, “Trusting the LORD Will Provide”, “Getting Out of Your Tent”, “LORD Willing”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Visions of America”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Hear and See, Understand and Perceive”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Praying and Waiting”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Festive Throngs”, and “Pandemic Wisdom: Hezekiah”.

If you are troubled by depression, I urge you to seek professional help from clergy, counselors, and doctors.