Faith in the new normalJun 02, 2020 10:52AM ● By Vic Stinemetze
As I write this article on May 1, America is enthralled with the decision on when and how to come out of the shelter-in-place orders put in place by most of the nation’s governors. Our president and the CDC have made recommendations for beginning to open up our economy in stages. Governors are wrestling with how and when to follow those recommendations. Businesses are weighing the cost of opening up with possible transmissions against the cost of remaining closed, and possible bankruptcy. Some of our prominent doctors are saying it’s time to open our economy while others are saying it’s much too soon. What to do?
And what will it look like when we finally do open our economy? Many are talking about the new normal. Will we ever feel safe again? Will masks and social distancing become the new norm? Some are even saying handshakes may become a thing of the past. And what does the Bible have to say about all this?
First, let me be perfectly clear, I do not believe that God created the coronavirus. I do believe it is an evil disease meant by the powers of darkness for destruction. However, the Bible is full of examples where God used such disasters to awaken his people to their need to return to him.
Few would deny that our country has strayed from its roots and that there is a need to return to God. We are a prodigal nation who has, in many cases, ran away from God to seek our own pleasures. By our legislations that prohibit mention of God in our schools and in many public arenas, we have in effect said, “We don’t need you anymore.”
There is little doubt that this virus is shaking everything that can be shaken—every sphere of society—and through it, God is calling us back to him, both as a nation and as individuals. He is calling us to return to our first love. So what should the new normal look like?
People of faith
First of all, the Bible tells us we are not to live in fear. Fear is actually the opposite of faith and we as Christians are to be people of faith. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Isaiah 43:1 says, “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead be very glad, for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to the world.”
I don’t know what the new normal will look like. But I do know that God is calling us to a new consecration to him. He is calling us to return to him with a whole heart and to seek him with all of our hearts, minds and our souls. We need to find ways to spend more time in relationship with him through prayer and Scripture reading. We need to find new and innovative ways to reach others for the Kingdom of God. That will be the most important change in the new normal. Everything else will take care of itself.