Getting Back to Normal

Thursday 7 May
~ Jo Taylor

These recent times have caused many of us to reflect on our lives in a way like we never have before.

We are currently in our 7th week of “lockdown” and the more people I speak to I realise how the situation of each household has it’s own unique story and challenges. It’s consistently reminding us that we are in the same storm but the circumstances we find ourselves in look very different from family to family. However, the one common ground for us all is the uncertainty which is underlying all we previously knew in so many areas of our lives.

There is a line from a house insurance advert which is used regularly in our house at the moment…it says “I don’t know! Nobody knows!” And that’s pretty much what you come back to when trying to make decisions about anything further ahead than today.

I am so grateful that the hope we have in Jesus is our anchor. When everything around feels out of control & there is nothing we can do to change or speed up this uncertain season in our lives, Hebrews 6:17-18 reminds us

When God wanted to guarantee His promises, he gave His word, a rock-solid guarantee – God can’t break His word. And because His word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go” (The Message)

I love this! It’s a reminder that our God & His promises to us are unchangeable & unshakeable and this is why we are able to trust everything we are & everything we have to Him. It causes us to confidently hand the reigns of our lives back to Him as we know he cannot fail us.

We are hearing stories of the sadness & distress for so many families who have lost loved ones at this time and we continue to pray for salvation for these people & for them to know the love of Jesus in their lives. And, running alongside this, we are also hearing beautiful accounts of neighbours looking out for each other, checking on each other to make sure they’re ok & have all they need, and often putting others needs before their concern for their own health. We also hear of the families who, prior to this, didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time together now appreciating the chance to be in the same place where they are finding, although there are tough days, those bonds are being strengthened in a new way.

We know that many of the decisions we are making in our daily lives at the moment are subject to change at any time and I, like many others, have said the phrase “I can’t wait until things go back to normal”. But I felt challenged about the statement as I am beginning to see that’s not the position God wants me in. People are really beginning to see & experience what is really important to God and therefore important to be reflected in our lives as Christians….the importance of families being strengthened & communities being restored. If us going back to “normal” as a society means that these values were downgraded again as we all get consumed in our own lives, is that actually the position God wants us to return to?
As we are beginning to hear in the media about elements of things “returning to normal”, let’s not hold on to everything in our old lives, hoping for things to go back exactly as they were just because that’s comfortable. There are things in our “normal” lives which will hold us back from what God wants for our lives going forward.

In a time of uncertainty, it’s human nature to want to go back to a place just because the familiarity of it is comforting, just as the children of Israel did when they had been rescued out of slavery from Egypt. But we know that God doesn’t want to take us back. He encourages us to ‘glance’ back to remember & celebrate what He’s brought us through but not to turn & go back. We do not need to fear the uncertainty of life ahead as He is with us & will never leave us!

Today, be encouraged to invite God into your everything. As we give our “normal” to Him, He will show us those things we no longer need to carry the burden of with us. As we allow Him to prioritise our lives instead of returning to our own itineraries, His promise for us is found in Romans 8:15-17

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!” (The Message)

This is the life He promises us. I believe today God is asking us to hold fast. Hold fast not to the “normal” we once knew but “to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”! (Hebrews 10:23)