“The New Normal” is a phrase we hear often in the media these days. These words refer, of course, to the new habits we have undertaken because of the corona virus. Many of us are sheltering in our homes, practicing social distancing, frequently washing hands, sanitizing everything we touch, and attending meetings by Zoom and other electronic means.
Last January, I downloaded a Bible app on my phone. In addition to the Bible passage, every day a new Scripture “verse of the day” appears on the screen. Recently, however, the same verse popped up for nearly two weeks:
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
(Isaiah 43:19, NIV)
I read this verse every day, wondering why it kept popping up. After the third or fourth reading, I looked it up in the Bible and read it in context. Then I started asking God what He wants me to understand from this verse. I began watching for ways in which God is doing something new. And I started asking God how I should be involved.
We are now hearing stories on the evening news of people helping their neighbors in need, and being creative in celebrating special events like birthdays and graduations while still social distancing. Our church has partnered with a local grocery store and is delivering food to senior citizens and others with compromised immune systems, so they do not have to leave their homes. Meals are being provided to children who are normally fed at school, so they don’t go hungry. My daughter started cooking meals for friends who have become ill, leaving parcels on doorsteps, so their families would be cared for. I began finding creative ways to keep in touch with my preschool students and encourage their families, most of whom are refugees. God opened my eyes to a friend who is out of work, and provided the means to bless her in a small way.
Worship services are being shared on Facebook and YouTube, and the message of salvation through God’s Son, Jesus, is reaching into the homes of people who might not otherwise attend a church. Thirty-seven people have contacted our church to say they have received Jesus as their Savior, after hearing of God’s love. God is pouring out His Spirit.
Now as businesses start to reopen and our nation begins to recover, I am pondering new questions: Will God’s people continue to help their needy neighbors? Will we still take time, and use our resources creatively,to tell others that God loves them? Will our resumed busyness throw roadblocks in the way of God’s working? Or will we make the effort to be a part of His ongoing work of doing a new thing?