Scripture Reading: Genesis 7:11-24
“Two by two they came into the boat, male and female, just as God has commanded. Then the Lord shut them in.” (Gen. 7:15-16 NLT)
I feel sorry for all the thousands of people who are shut-ins at nursing homes or sanitariums. Many are physically incapable of hearing, seeing, or walking, and some are even confined to a bed or wheelchair. They are often ignored, abandoned, forgotten, and isolated. How awful it must be not to get outside to feel the warmth of the sun, hear the chirping of birds, and seeing the playful antics of squirrels and rabbits.
In the early 1940s my family was quarantined on two different occasions. Once when our neighbor exposed us to scarlet fever and the other time when my sister Delores and I caught a case of the old fashioned German measles. The local health department came out and nailed a quarantine sign reading contagious disease KEEP OUT, onto our door. I don’t remember how long we were shut-in, but I do remember the feeling of isolation. In those days we didn’t have television, Nintendo, play station videos, or music CD’s. All we had was a small radio, player piano, and a few phonograph records. Believe me, being confined is not a pleasant experience.
I wonder how Noah felt after God shut the door of the ark. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood waters covered the earth and he was confined to the ark for one year before dry land appeared and the door was opened. Besides feeding and taking care of all the animals what did they do for entertainment? How did they function as a family? Did tempers flare or tensions arise during their closed environment? It would seem inconceivable that a whole year would pass without some sort of complaint or disagreement.
Jonah knew what it was like to be a shut-in. He spent three days and three nights in the stomach of a great fish before being spit out onto the beach. I can’t even imagine what he went through while in that fish. The acidity, stench, and garbage that flowed around in that fish must have been unbearable. No wonder he prayed to the Lord for forgiveness and release. How would you like it if you were confined in a great fish with seaweed wrapped around your head? When he was spit out on the beach it was like rising from the dead. What a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Let me encourage you to pray for all the forgotten shut-ins. Many of them are without hope and waiting for the day that they will die. What a blessing it is when people spend time visiting and talking with them! In some areas pets are taken to these facilities for the shut-ins to cuddle, pet, and embrace. Their faces light up with joy, and they experience a moment of happiness.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I ask you to bring some joy into the lives of the forgotten shut-ins.