I've been thinking about this one for a while now. In an era when so many things are turned upside down it's tempting to constantly wonder "when will everything be back to normal"? We are torn between the contrasting opinions about whether that will take just a few weeks or many months. Regardless of the timeline, it strikes me as the wrong question. The problem with asking it that way is the word "normal."

Normal implies that we want things to be the way they were.  And not every aspect of that hope is wrong.   I’m sure that every one of us has felt through this absence a greater appreciation for our schools, our churches, our clubs, our freedoms, and for a million other “little enjoyments” we probably never gave much thought to before.    But that just proves the point.   We cannot go back to normal if normal means “the way things used to be” because we are not the same people we used to be.   In the Lord’s purpose, according to James 1:2-4, we are to decide to be joyful about trials because they are tests of our faith.   Exercising faith produces endurance to trust even more, and more, and more.    This trust in God’s goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and sovereignty is the very thing that transforms us to become more like him.    

If you are a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, then God is using this time to change you to love him more and, as a result, to be more like Christ.    If God has been at work, then you don’t want things to go back to the way they were and neither does He!   The gospel transformation taking place in your life during these times is preparing you for a different future, not the same old past. 

Peter says similar things in 1 Peter chapter 1 and shares with them and us how to maximize the growth potential of troubling times.   

  1. Remember your salvation (v.1-9).   You were sinners bound for Hell but Christ who died and rose again for you has caused you to be born again.   Now you have an eternal inheritance in heaven that can never be lost.   THAT is a good God and the fact that you love Him at all is proof that He has transformed you already

  2. Pursue personal holiness furiously (v.13-21).   Prepare your mind every day to think what is true. Look to the future and consider that your purpose is to be made like Jesus and, while that won’t happen completely until Heaven, the very reason for your existence today is to give God glory with your life.  

 

 

So…   Instead of merely waiting this thing out, pining away for days of yore, or planning our own self-centered futures, let’s spill some ink (or kilobits) rejoicing together as a church in what God has been doing to change us.  How are you different, more like Jesus, today than you were a month ago?    Let us know!

 

 

Praying for your growth,

 

Pastor Jon

Why we can't go back to

"the way things were"

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