As we try to get our minds around the craziness that is our current situation, many of the people I’ve talked to say, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal.” While I understand the desire to have things restored to the way they were, we have to look at things as they are, not as they were.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.Isaiah 43:18
‘Back’ to Normal
The problem with getting ‘back’ to normal is that it’s impossible to go backwards. While we know this logically, we tend to cling to our yesterdays emotionally. We want to be the same every day. This way we can be safe and not have to deal with any surprises.
But we all know that’s not how life works. Each day brings new things we never had to give a conscious thought about. The terms COVID-19, Corona, N95, and social distancing have become part of our everyday lives. Casual handshakes, standing close, hugs, and personal contact have become taboo.
What we saw as our normal was the acceptance and our familiarity of the status quo. Twenty years ago we had just survived Y2K, we could walk to an airport gate, face and book were two words, Michael Jordan was contemplating his second NBA comeback, and Derek Jeter and the Yankees were winning their fourth World Series in five years. Now Jordan and Jeter are owners of sports franchises, Facebook is one of the world’s largest companies and TSA, which was such an inconvenience, is now a part of everyday life.
Our world is in a constant state of change. We can accept this or fight against it. But we won’t stop it.
We have no idea how much our world will change and continue to change over the years. It’s not that things are changing; it’s how the changes make us feel about ourselves, our current situation, and our future.
In Isaiah 43:18, God tells the children of Israel to forget about the old things. In this scripture He is telling them to stop seeing the crossing of the Red Sea as the greatest thing He has done, or will do, for them. That’s where many of us are in our lives, both individually and as a society. Filled with fear that the best is behind us. These thoughts can become distractions to what we should remember about God. In the scripture the author uses the word “dwell.”
To dwell means to live in a specific place; to think, speak or write at length about something. What are your thoughts dwelling on? The situation or on God?
All Things are New – But God Remains the Same
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.Isaiah 43:19
We see life through filters. In my book, From Crackers to Caviar: A Guide to Personal Development, I called this Mindsight. Our mind captures everything but presents to us the things we prioritize as important. When crossing a street we’re looking for cars, not birds. But we see the birds. Our eyes see everything, and our mind records it.
Yes, it’s true many of us haven’t been through a pandemic. But how I see it is that God is bigger than anything we will ever face, including the cascading effects of a pandemic. I’m not ignoring the problems that are going on, but I am not focusing on them either. I focus on God and the things He has put in me to do.
In the next verse in Isaiah 43, God asks; “Don’t you see what I’m doing? Don’t you recognize how I’m going to reveal My love in the middle of this?” The God who asked this question back then is the same God today.
Our role as believers is to look for opportunities to show His love, grace, and mercy through our lives and to instill hope. For us our normal is to believe that God has a bigger purpose in what we see and what we see is going to work out in our favor.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
James R. Cooper is a Business Strategist, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Maxser Consulting Group, LLC, Pastor of Restoration International Christian Ministries, and author of From Crackers to Caviar: A Guide to Personal Development. James was also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Each of the doors God has opened, James message of success and clarity of thinking has uniquely equipped him to assists leaders and organizations in breaking through barriers to even higher levels and teaching the principle of making success non-negotiable!