I caught myself praying that the other day as I worked to sign my daughter in to her online class.
There are moments, even whole days, where I ache for “normal,” where I desperately miss our busy schedule and all of the things we used to fill our time and occupy our minds. I miss sending the kids to school and going to church. I miss going to the store any time I needed to, not wearing a mask, and being able to find the things I was there for.
But as I’ve had some time to reflect on what normal was and what I want our new normal to be, I have to say –
I don’t want to get back to normal.
While it will be nice to see friends again in person and give my nieces and nephews hugs, I’m more and more certain that what was “normal” is not where I want to be any more.
I was reading the book of James the other day, and verses 1:2-4 say, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
And I realized…we’re in a trial right now. We’re being tested right now. Everything we’re going through in this pandemic – online school, lost jobs, financial worries, loneliness, missing friends, missing church, cancelled plans, ruined schedules, increased anxiety, overwhelming changes over and over and over again…all of those are trials that everyone in the world is facing in varying degrees.
We’re in a situation, all of us, where our faith is being tested.
And we can choose to wish for what was…or to look forward to what this is producing in us.
We can choose to yearn for the busyness and the overfull days, or marvel at what we can do with the gifts we’ve been given. We can opt to miss who we were before this pandemic, or we can allow Jesus to use this to make us more and more like Him. We can moan over the state of the world, or we can look for ways to improve our little corner of it.
I can’t tell you what you need to be doing with this time apart from what we’ve always known, but I can tell you what my new prayer is.
My new prayer is not that we will go back to normal – back to who we were and what we did before this – but, that we will ALL be strengthened and made mature through this trial. That we will ALL come out the other side more like Jesus. Bolder. Kinder. With a faith that is stronger and firmer than ever before.
I pray that this changes us. That this makes us not “normal,” but NEW. That we will have a new perspective, a new compassion, and a new motivation to do everything we can to get closer to God.
I pray that our thoughts, and words, and prayers, and deeds during this time and for the rest of our lives shout out our love for Jesus, and that our lives will reflect His glory to the world.
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.