As we enter 2021, a lot of us are hoping that this is the year things will “go back to normal”. People are looking forward to socializing again without the constant worries, going back to church, going on vacations, and the many more things that we used to do before the pandemic started. However, as we draw closer and closer to that day, I wonder if we really should be looking to go back to normal or if we should be more focused on making plans for charting a new path forward.
Before the pandemic began, I could not help but feel that the Christian values were becoming less and less visible in the average Christian’s life. I will not get into the details, but in many respects the way Christians lived was becoming very similar to the way non-Christians lived. The distinction of what it meant to be a “believer” was fading. Distinctively Christian goals and values seemed to be less noticeable with every passing year. Maybe the purpose of this pandemic was to give the Church the ability to re-establish the core values and to reignite that distinguishing difference in the way Christians live once again.
Looking back at Biblical examples, I can’t help but notice how many times God would send His people into separation when He wanted them to learn and prepare for doing His work.
Take Apostle Paul, for example. He writes in Galatians 1 that after his conversion he did not immediately consult with anyone, but instead went away into Arabia. Then after three years, he went up to Jerusalem. God was preparing him for the work He had in store.
Another great example is when the people of Israel left Egypt. God had them wander around in the wilderness for 40 years as He prepared His people to eventually take the land He had promised.
King David spent a lot of time hiding from Saul before taking the throne, where he learned to depend on and trust in God.
The last example is Joseph. He was taken away from his family (at a young age) to be prepared for the work God had in store for him.
God knows better than anyone else how to prepare His people for the work that He wants them to do. God also knows better than anyone when His people are – or are not – prepared to do the work He has called them to do. Seeing these stories makes me wonder if the old “normal” that we are seeking to return to is actually the problem that led us to where we are now? Is God taking us away from the old normal to prepare us for a specific work?
As we continue to be in a state of uncertainty, I think it is important to really evaluate our own lives to see what work God has in store for us when we do get back to normal. It would be a disappointment if after the pandemic ends, we just pick up where we left off before.