Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. (Isaiah 54:2)
With all the social distancing and stay at home orders, with the closing of restaurants, gyms and salons, with actual meetings being canceled, trips postponed, schools shuttered, plans changed, it can feel like our world is shrinking, closing down, and becoming smaller.
Recently, as I was feeling not a little claustrophobic with all the changes in our lives because of the epidemic, today’s scripture kept on coming to me. The movement in these words from Isaiah isn’t towards closing down, but opening up. During a difficult time in Israel’s history, a time when so much of their common life and faith had been lost, God gave these words to His prophet: “Enlarge the site of your tent.” In other words, regardless of the difficulty of outward circumstances, expand your desires, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and influence.
What could these words mean to us right now? The obvious meaning is the connection that our life is expanding right now as our country begins to open up again; and I know that all of us are hoping and praying that everyone is careful, sensible, and responsible about doing so.
But besides the obvious meaning, how else could these words apply to our current circumstances? Just because some aspects of our lives are more restricted doesn’t mean that our minds, hearts, and souls need to be shrinking. I keep on pondering what new and expanded thinking and feeling and believing that God might desire for us.
As much as we have been impacted by dealing with this virus, we must not allow it to totally confine or define our thinking, feeling, believing, trusting, acting, and hoping.
We need hope all the time, and maybe especially during such troubling and traumatic times. Our hope is based on this: We have a great God who can do great things, and this epidemic doesn’t limit God in any way. Even if some aspects of our outer lives may be smaller or constricted, our inner world, spiritual life, intellectual pursuits, and the size of our hearts shouldn’t be controlled by Coronavirus, but by our relationship with God. And our great God who loves us with great love, wants us to “enlarge the site of [our] tent” by living with courage and faith and hope.
- If you enlarged your mind, what would your thinking be?
- If you enlarged your heart, how would your relationships change?
- If you enlarged your faith, how would your life be transformed?