When God is preparing a “chosen,” covenant people, He seems to follow a well-established scriptural and historical pattern. Before becoming what God intends the people to become, they must pass through a period of isolation from the rest of the world. It’s a time of incubation the people must endure before emerging as something better than they were. Almost like a caterpillar that cannot transform into a butterfly until it undergoes a period of essential development inside its chrysalis (cocoon).
After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. These were formative years for them, and through the ups and downs, God prepared them to inherit their “promised land” in Palestine.
The families of Lehi and Ishmael went through a similar ordeal after fleeing Jerusalem before the Babylonian invasion. They wandered in the wilderness for several years before they crossed the ocean to inherit their “promised land.”
You could say the same thing happened to early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they were forced out of Nauvoo, Illinois. They traversed the wilderness and built their new home in the relative isolation of the Rocky Mountains—their “promised land.”
This pattern doesn’t just happen to groups of people. It happens on a personal level, too. For example, after the baptism of Jesus Christ, what did He do? He sojourned in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, fasting. He left the world behind and found in isolation that which He needed to prepare Himself for His ministry, which began thereafter.
Could COVID-19 be your chrysalis?
Despite modern technological advances that could allow you to circle the globe in hours, COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented level of social isolation around the globe. Even on the rare occasions when people gather together, it’s considered wise to practice social distancing. Thus, even together, there is a degree of aloneness. Though we are living in the world, we’ve been forced to remain separate from it. It’s almost as if the fibers of COVID-19 are forming a chrysalis around each of us and our families.
Could these circumstances represent a modern “sojourn in the wilderness” for you or your family? Maybe these are just the circumstances that some of us need in order to become a covenant people, or covenant person. Whether or not it was God’s intention, we can each take advantage of this time to reset, recharge, and repent. Perhaps we can come out of our cocoons as something more closely resembling our grand exemplar, Jesus Christ. Maybe that is the light at the end of the tunnel; the Promised Land after the journey.
My only hope is that is doesn’t take 40 years to get there.