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A New Normal

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

What will a new normal look like? A bunch of folks are asking that question. I hope our new normal means that we look after each other better. I hope that our new normal means that politics takes a back seat to getting some good done for the American people. I hope that a new normal means that folks look at their finances and plan for times like this. Don’t live paycheck to paycheck if you don’t have to. (We all know what Dave Ramsey says!) I hope that when this calms down, people mean it when they ask, “How are you doing?” I hope family means much more than it did before this whole thing.

But we don’t know what a new normal will look like. I think that we can never go back to the way things were. Hugs, maybe. Handshakes, maybe. These are very small things in a new normal.

But what about God’s work in the new normal? I am reminded of the children of Israel about to head into the promised land. This change would have been a new normal anyway, but God had some additional plans. Moses would be staying on this side of the river, and Joshua would lead the people (Deuteronomy 32:44-52).

For their entire lives, the only real leader they had was Moses. They could not imagine following anyone else. And if the truth be known many were following Moses rather than following God. After all, he was there every day. All their lives he was there. Every step of the way he was there. And now what would they do without him?

Who was this Joshua fella? And why should they follow him? So they camped by the river and waited. Joshua sent out a team of scouts to check out the land ahead (Joshua 2).

In their original expedition to scout the promised land, most of them came back with a report kinda like, “No way bub! We can’t do it. Giant people. Big trouble ahead,” (Numbers 13). Two came back with a huge bunch of grapes. This is something they had not seen in a long time. Manna yes, quail yes, grapes no. But now there would be no Moses.

Then God defined the new normal for Joshua. Fear not for I am with you (Joshua 1:9)! I know the plans I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11). You are about to enter a land flowing with milk and honey! And I will take care of you! So many times in history God says the same thing: “Fear not!” Jesus said it a bunch of times.

Each time there was a new normal ahead. Whether it was the promised land, a calm sea, the risen Savior, or the presence of the Holy Spirit. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” (Isaiah 41:10).

Our new normal will depend so much on our walking with God into a new promised land. A fear not land! When our grandchildren ask us “What did you do during the pandemic?” I pray that you can say, “I learned how to be fearless!” That’s why our family walks with God today.

It’s time to cross the river into a new normal. This won’t be the last trial we face as a people of God. We might have a Jericho to bring down, a furnace to walk into, a flood to live through, or a pandemic that comes back with a vengeance. We don’t know what the new normal will look like. But we know what pursuing God looks like! And He knows what normal will be, praise His Holy name.

Lisa and I used to have a saying “Normal is just a setting on the dryer.” A new normal is just a setting in our lives.

God bless you.

-Pastor Bill