I began writing this post nearly seven months ago, in early May 2020. The world seemed to be coming apart with Covid-19, deep social and racial divides, and profound economic hardships. Since then, things only seem to be getting worse. Certainly the Covid-19 pandemic is worse. The US election laid bare the persistence of our deep social and political divides.
Back in May I set this aside, telling myself that its time was past. I could not have been more wrong; I had fallen into the trap of thinking that we would soon be back to our normal, predictable lives. The truth is our lives may have had a comfortable routine, but they were never predictable.
This year some new phrases became prominent in our conversations: “unprecedented times, ” “uncertain times,” and “new normal.” Our use of these phrases implies that believe that prior to 2020 our times had precedent and we could be certain of what would come next. When we say “new normal” we are saying we have arrived at some new equilibrium point where we can once again predict what tomorrow will bring. We are fooling ourselves.
Our times have always been unprecedented, uncertain, and different from our perception of normal. Each day we live is different from any other day we have lived; it is absolutely unique and in that way unprecedented. You have never lived a day where you knew with certainty what would happen. I am not just being pedantic and playing games with semantics; I am trying to make an important point. We have lived our lives as is we were in control when that has never been reality.
If we seek stability and certainty, we must end in one place: God. God does not change (see Hebrews 8:13, James 1:17, and Isaiah 40:8 for a few of many examples). In Him we have certainty and predictability. If we keep our eyes on Him we can anchor ourselves to an immovable rock in a sea of change, uncertainly, and turmoil. We sill have to live in our tumultuous world, but we don’t have to be undone by it; we can have an unchanging, loving God who “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love [Him] and are called according to his purpose for them. ” (Romans 8:28, NLT)