What a year! We have heard it over and over again, “This is the new normal.” We throw it around as if it has a set meaning but the truth is no one really knows what normal was and what the new normal will be. Life was never as predictable as our romanticized memories of the past would lead us to believe. However, in these COVID times when nothing seems to be “normal” the past calls out to us deceiving us into believing that life would be so much better if only things were like they once were.
The implications of limited contact…
…are not good. Although it has been hard on everyone, some have suffered much more than others. There are those who have had more contact because of work and home life while others have felt isolated with very limited interactions. This along with daily uncertainty about lockdowns and the fear of contact with an infected person have taken their toll. I would never wish this pandemic on anyone. That being said, I do believe that it has served a purpose. We have been forced to realize that we have very little control. I hope and pray that there will be a lasting change because of this realization but I am not optimistic. If we continue to dream of days gone by, if we seek to return to the way things were, if we long for what we once had; we live in danger of having our dreams fulfilled, our lifestyle reinstated and our longings met. Once a vaccine is widely in use, what will become our normal?
As the uncertainties of 2020 become…
…a distant memory there is a big risk that we will feel more in control and therefore have less of a need for God to be in control. The new normal becomes the old normal and life goes on as if nothing happened. We must establish a new normal that is nothing like the way things were. We must accept that being in control was and still will be an illusion. We must desire to see God’s plan done God’s way in God’s timing with God’s chosen resources in every situation no matter how big or small. What we do/don’t do as well as when and how we do it, must come under God’s authority. If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us it’s that while we don’t have control of what happens and never did, we do have control over who we allow to lay out our course and lead us.
It’s not easy to let go and let God…
…and it hasn’t become any easier during these times of upheaval in our lives and at our church. As we celebrated Christmas this year it was most likely the strangest Christmas we will ever experience but the season should remind us that God has had a plan for creation that addresses everything before it even happens.
The first book of the Bible alludes to a plan to address our helpless state of sin:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
The psalmist gave us a peek into God’s plan for Jesus’ death, resurrection and assertion:
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:9-11(NIV)
Isaiah documented portions of God’s plan for our salvation:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
All this was long before Jesus was born. God was not caught off guard by our sinfulness, He had a plan to address it. God was not caught off guard by COVID or anything else that happened this year. He already had/has a plan. The question in all situations from our sinfulness to pandemics and everything in between is, will we allow God’s plan done God’s way in God’s timing with God’s chosen resources to be our motto for living?
If you are a follower of Christ…
…you already have started that process by leaving your sin at the foot of the cross which is God’s plan done God’s way in God’s timing with God’s chosen resources for redemption, that’s the easy part. When we look at the rest of life it is much harder to let go and let God.
As Christ followers and as a collective of Christ follower challenged by life events we want to fix it. We think we have a way to fix it. We think we know when to fix it. We think we know who or what we need to fix it. Instead of stressing ourselves out, let’s drop to our knees and say, “Your will not my will.” It won’t change what we face but it will take the weight of figuring it out and addressing it off of us and place it on God’s shoulders where it belongs. God will act at the perfect time with the perfect plan involving the people He, in His perfection, has called to carry it out.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:4-6 (NIV)
Like you, I hope we learned lessons from this pandemic. Control is an illusion. We are interdependent. And we may all, one day, find ourselves in need. Christ alone is the answer…as He has always been.
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