The Old Is Passing Away, The New Is Coming
Going to the grocery store the past several weeks has felt like being in a third world country. Sparse shelves. Announcements repeating over the sound system saying certain items are limited to two per person -- but not to worry, that the supply chain is intact. Not to mention shoppers wearing facemasks and gloves. And, finally, a regimented check-out system.
It's eerie and unsettling.
It brings to mind images I’ve seen coming out of war-torn countries or the old Soviet Union. Not to mention pictures of the bread lines of the Great Depression.
It's frustrating to not be able to grab a few things (that were usually always in stock), go to the self-checkout (only every other one was turned on), and hustle back home (without feeling the need to use hand sanitizer as soon as I'm back in my car).
Welcome to the new normal. At least for the time being.
If this and the general milieu we’re in makes you feel sad, that’s okay. It makes me sad, too. Even when this current crisis passes, or at least lessens, what was before will likely not be again.
Well, with one exception.
God will still be God. You will still be loved by Him. And He will still hold everything together just as Colossians 1:17 affirms: “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (ESV).
Eras, generations, and fads come and go. Change is constant. Sometimes change is a good thing, like the invention of the internet. Sometimes it’s a bad thing, like the invention of the internet. But God is sovereign all the time, through the good and the bad.
With change there is loss. We lose one idea of “normal” which is replaced by a new reality of “normal.” These are losses that are inevitable and need to be grieved over. It’s okay to mourn the loss of the old normalcy.
In her book, Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow, Judith Viorst * explains that all through our lives, there are times and phases we need to let go of to move forward. We experience the loss of childhood, parents, relatives, places, treasures, and more. As individuals, as we grow and mature, change flows through us in the form of these losses.
This is the way of life. We work through the stages of grief, adapt, grow, or heal as necessary, and move on.
The idea of the old passing away and something new arriving is not foreign to Christians. We’ve been here before and it’s working out well. As Paul reminds us, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV).
As believers in Christ, we go forward secure and confident that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Knowing that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
And understanding that we can “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:2-5).
In the meantime, we keep washing our hands, avoid touching our faces, wear a face mask, and continuously pray for everyone’s health and well-being.
* She is also the author of the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which every adult should read.