We all have new things in our lives. Our “firsts.” Graduations. Marriage. Having your first child. There’s the young child having their first time to walk and to talk. There’s a child starting school for the first time, then sometimes they try sports or band, or raising their first animal. A first grandbaby or great grandbaby.
Another first time has begun for us. A first time to not hold that grandbaby. A first time for virtual weddings. A first time for homeschooling for every child and their parents or guardians. A first time to only share on social media. A first time for no hugging. This first is our new normal.
We look forward to the day we can step out, literally, and experience more new firsts. For some of us just stepping out of our homes will be a first. We will have a new sense of appreciation, of gratefulness, of excitement. As followers of Christ, this is what God wants us to do and we don’t have to wait. Even in our new normal, God gives us ways to share Him. He also gives us our most important first, our most important new normal. He gives us a new self. He makes us a new creation to carry on through our firsts.
Ephesians 4:17-24 says, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The firsts in our lives are not always good ones. If we think about some firsts in the Bible, we see a new normal in situations that affect even us like Adam and Eve and the tree of life. This was not a good first but one that would change life for all mankind. God had a purpose, a plan, for this action like He does every action, whether good or bad.
Other major firsts in the Bible were Noah stepping off the ark for the first time. Jonah being in the belly of a fish. Can you imagine how he felt the first time he stepped out on dry ground after being in the belly of a fish for three days? There’s Daniel in the lion’s den. And there are many more.
My favorite is Moses’ entire journey after leaving Egypt, and, also before, from being left in the Nile River as a baby to his parting of the Red Sea to being buried apparently by God, Himself. Moses’ entire life was filled with firsts and we know he made it through all of them with God’s gracious guidance.
These people in their situations had one thing in common. At some point they all prayed to God! Even Jonah prayed to God in the fish’s belly. I sometimes feel like I’m enclosed as in a fish’s belly right now, confined with this quarantine, this shelter in place. I think of those people of Biblical days that only had God to rely on and I try to put my trust in Him as they did! And I think of how they felt when they first stepped on dry ground out of their confinement. How they praised God! I’m already praising God because I know that day will come for us! And like those in the Bible this too will help my growth as His new creation.
I hope our “New Normal” includes constant praise and prayer to God. And I hope we don’t forget what can happen in a moment.