Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
On the New Normal
One is beginning to hear the expression “new normal” more and more with regard to all the changes recommended or mandated concerning how we go about (or not) our everyday business as the coronavirus plays out. One of the most obvious adjustments is wearing face masks,* even with the risks involved.
That said, there is a silver lining: new recommendations and lifestyle alterations will make it easier for communities to offset future epidemics and pandemics. We’ll be supplied with, well, plenty of face masks as well as other healthcare products (not to mention vitamins A, D, C, and the mineral zinc)–and at least here in the U.S. mountains of leftover toilet paper.
So changes, aka new normals, have their benefits as well as deficits.
On God’s Normal
However, there is a normal of an eternal kind that covers all options while easing stress and giving humans a “heads-up” if they look for it both back in history and forward in prophecy.
Names, places, events, and eras may differ, but in the eternal timeline, there is a pattern to guide us, the archetype illustrated in Eden. Goes something like this:
- God reveals the plan for successful living and provides the supplies,
- mankind wants more,
- with a little help from a (fake) friend mankind rebels,
- ends up in a new normal of hurt,
- God reveals Plan B: how He will save, deliver and heal mankind…
- …if mankind so chooses, maybe having to revive the commitment many times over, the twin troubles of forgetfulness and rebellion always snaking near.
Of course, this all hinges on getting the good news and the Good News to begin with. But God has a plan for that, too, customized, you might say, per individual, place, and era.
Some get the heads-up on while pondering some shimmering night sky, perhaps, or by recalling something someone said about God, or maybe even while reading that all-time best-selling book, the Bible.
Others get the information that leads to salvation in a church service or by listening to the testimonies, experiences, and explanations of family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors who call themselves believers–or simply by observing their lives.
Still others turn to God in another kind of rebellion altogether, this one against all the counterfeit gods that inevitably prove hypocritical and/or dangerous. Disappointing, at the very least.
What is this “Good News”?
In short, that we can’t make ourselves right with God, regain Eden, so to speak, so He sent His Son Jesus to make the way possible by taking the hit for our sins (aka our rebellion and “forgetfulness”) so that by faith in this information it is possible for us to be “born again” and to enter into a new spiritual normal, this one lasting for eternity. For more information on this, read here.
Back to Plan A.
As for those of us who have already chosen Jesus, our prayers are here to help.
St. Paul put it this way in a letter to Timothy:
2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:2-6, ESV)
Of course, the man said “may lead”. People in every time and place have their own choice to either receive or reject the fruits of our prayer labors, and life may not end up being “peaceful and quiet” depending upon who are in said “high positions”.
But we proceed and pray anyway prompted by another of God’s gifts, hope, because of the words of another man: “(With) God all things are possible.” -Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 19:26
Bonus material for those yet to decide: So amid all the new good, bad, and ugly normals going on out there, I pray that you, dear reader who perhaps has not yet made your spiritual choice, will consider both the invitation and the warning herein:
As it has been said: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts… (Hebrews 3:15, BSB)
Because what if all those end-times prophecy scholars are right?
But more importantly, don’t you, too, long for Eden—as it was–as it is–as it will be forever?
*In the spirit of “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” here is a hilarious take on many of the unintended consequences of wearing face masks in a classroom of young students.