Voices: Our new normal is not eternity

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I will be the first to say 2020 has been an entire roller coaster ride that just hasn’t seemed to end. Personally, I have hit some of my greatest lows emotionally and some of my greatest highs physically.

Many people have written off 2020 as the worst year ever, but 2020 isn’t the problem; 2020 will pass away. 2021 will come, and I’m sure not much will change.

Although news about how the pandemic has progressed is buried under politics, Black lives matter, Chadwick and Cardi B, the pandemic is still here. I’m reminded every time I enter a grocery store, with every Zoom meeting and every time someone coughs or gets too close to me.

The pandemic is still here, and what we feared would happen back in March when this started is right in our faces. This is the new normal.

No control in the new normal

It’s a normal our kids live in as they enter school buildings with masks on and limited interaction with their peers. My only prayer is we have instilled the fear of God in them not to exchange their mask for a bag of cookies.

In truth, I’m worried. I’m worried, because I am not there to save my kids. I’m not there to make sure they have the mind to stay safe and not stick their finger up their nose.

I don’t have control over this pandemic, over what kids are doing at school, over the economy that has rendered me jobless, over my internet connection during Zoom meetings. As small as all of these things are, they point to a great and powerful truth: I never was in control.

And I really need to put my hope in the only One who is sovereign over these things: Jesus.

God is sovereign over all conditions

We can be encouraged in this, because God is good indeed and has provided evidence of this in his word.

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If God’s word says he knows us before we were in or mother’s womb, that means before my 8-year-old niece even was conceived, God knew her, was paying attention to her, was present with her. How much more is he present now?

Although I am not in control, I can trust both of my nieces to a good God who is in control.

If God’s word says the lilies neither toil nor spin but still are clothed—as a way to show how God will take care of me—then I can trust God in my joblessness. Through unemployment, he has corrected my understanding of provision. My job never provided for me.

Just as the farmer waters and plants, it is God who gives growth. The farmer’s job is to be faithful and to trust in the One who grows. God is taking care of me.

If God’s word says, one day, there will be no more crying, sickness, death or pain, and all things former are to pass away, then I can trust God in my suffering. Although mask-wearing, Zoom meetings and COVID-19 are a new normal, they are not eternity. These things, whether in this life or in the next, will not always be.

I encourage you, however this new normal has challenged your comforts in life, submit your thoughts to the Lord, and take them captive under Christ.

As believers, we know this life is not the end for us. Placing our hope in things to come gives us peace in the right now. This is what suffering is meant to produce: patience and a hope that does not bring us to shame.

Tillanye Stewart is pursuing a Master of Arts in theology degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can connect with her on Instagram: @tillanye. The views expressed are those solely of the author.

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