The New Normal

As I write this article on May 1st, 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 Nations 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 affect 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? 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.” 1st John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” 1st 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. Whether we will live much as we did before, or if many things will be different? I do not have the answer to those questions. 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. Are you with me!


Those Who Live in the Shelter of the Most High

In 1941 while America was deeply involved in World War II, fifty-two young men from a small town in Texas called Seadrift went off to war. “All the people in the city was praying for everybody,” said one survivor. “If somebody wouldn’t have been praying for us, I don’t think a lot of us would make it back,” said another. “We knew God was going to take care of us,” another man said. The Pastor of a small church in Seadrift came up with this idea. Members of the church brought in photographs of their sons to be put into a picture frame to make a collage to be prayed over. One intercessor wrote, “We all began to get a burden for those boys and so we began to meet and pray for their safety. We stood on the 91st Psalm. It seemed like we read that every time we would meet. We didn’t only pray at the church, we prayed at home also. It seemed like that burden just stayed with us.” When the war was over, all fifty-two of those young men returned home safely.


Psalm 91 says this: Those who live in the Shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you will not even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them; I will reward them with long life and give them my salvation.


Today we face a different kind of war. Our enemy is silent and invisible. But just like the Psalmist said, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my Name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble.” My wife and I made the choice years ago to come under his covering. It was the best decision we ever made. Storms come and storms go. Scripture says, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” But if you make the Most High your shelter, his faithful promises will be your armor and protection. Call upon the name of the Lord, and you will be saved.