At the moment we’re not in lockdown, so make the most of being able to get out and go for a walk. But it looks like lots of us will be indoors for a while. At first, it may feel novel; there might be a bit of a holiday feel. But I suspect that feeling will soon wear off. It won’t take long for us to start feeling frustrated at being shut up indoors. But God is in control, and he’s put us indoors by his providence. Think of Joseph, unjustly shut up in prison for over 2 years (Gen 41:1). Think of Jeremiah under house arrest, then put “in the dungeon cells” for “many days” (Jer 37:16). And then he was lowered into a cistern where he “sank in the mud” (Jer 38:6)! Thankfully, none of us are in their shoes.
I want to encourage us to treat this time indoors as an opportunity to discover new things about God and ourselves. It would be very sad if God were to shake our world like this and, we, his people, just wasted it mindlessly distracting ourselves on youtube. Of course, we can thank God for some light entertainment, but there are things God has to teach us when we’re on our own indoors that we can’t learn elsewhere.
C.S. Lewis starts his children’s stories the Magician’s Nephew and the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with the children being shut up, indoors on a rainy day. It’s that “indoor” setting where they discover the magical world of Narnia.
“Their adventures began chiefly because it was one of the wettest and coldest summers there had been for years. That drove them to indoor things: you might say, indoor exploration”– The Magician’s Nephew.
“When the next morning came there was a steady rain falling…’Of course it would be raining!’ said Edmund…. ‘I’m going to explore in the house’ [said Peter]”. During that exploration Lucy discovers Narnia– The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Blaise Pascal said: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”. So, when God’s shut us up inside, let’s not be too quick to turn to the remote control.
Now, there’s a way of “turning indoors” that is unhealthy. We don’t want to walk the path of medieval mystics, and Buddhist influenced “mindfulness”. There’s a kind of self-examination, which is unhealthy and abnormal. But there’s a self-examination which God asks of us (1 Cor 11:28; 2 Cor 13:5). And there’s a kind of exploration of Scripture which we’re usually too distracted to practice (Psalm 1:2). There’s a regularity to prayer which most of us are strangers to (Psalm 119:164 “Seven times a day I praise you”). So, we need to practice this “indoor exploration” with Jesus Christ and his word as our guide.
But, rather than complaining about being inside, like Edmund, let’s go and explore what’s indoors, with Peter.