No matter what news show you watch right now or what friend you talk to, the term “new normal” seems to be on everyone’s lips.
At times there’s fear associated with these words. What will our new normal be like this fall? Will the kids still be elearning? (Please, God, no!) Will the stock market bounce back? Will jobs return?
Other times there’s hope and optimism. We are adaptable! We are resilient! We can figure this out!
Sometimes there’s anger. We don’t need a new normal – we need to get back to our old normal!
I started thinking about this term the other day, and it’s been bouncing around in my brain ever since. I’ll admit, I’ve gone back and forth between all those emotions. But as the fear and anger and chaos start to creep into my thoughts, there are other words I begin to hear as well, words that are far more true and worthy of my attention.
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.John 14:27 NKJV
These are the words of Jesus as He is preparing his disciples for His death and resurrection. He knew they would soon be facing a period of intense turmoil, followed by a radical transformation in their lives and the world at large. Before long they would find themselves in an unexpected new normal.
Let’s be real – the new normal they were facing was a much bigger change than wearing face masks and staying 6 feet away from others. It was even bigger than losing a loved one or a job.
They would be coming to grips first with the violent death of their beloved Teacher, then with the reality that He had the power to raise Himself to life again. Not to mention the internal change that would come with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2). Their new normal would involve starting the largest spiritual movement the world has ever known. They would face death and persecution from their government and their former religious leaders.
In the moments depicted in John 14, Jesus knew all of this was in store for His friends. How did He go about preparing them? He described the peace they would find in Him, peace that was “not as the world gives.” He assured them this isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill peace. It’s not that post-yoga class zen or the calmness that comes from listening to your favorite music; it’s not even the stillness you find when out alone in nature.
The peace Christ promised His followers is a peace that cannot be found apart from Him. Because of this supernatural peace, they would be able to accept, endure, and rise to meet the changes and the challenges that lay ahead in their new normal.
Jesus’ words from 2,000 years ago are a reminder today that as Christians we already have everything we need in order to face our new normal, whatever that might be. This peace that He gives us passes all understanding. It’s powerful. It’s permanent. It’s not affected by pandemics, plagues, or politics.
Look at how Luke ends his account of Jesus’ life. After His ascension into Heaven, Christ’s disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joyand were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.” (Luke 24:52b-53)
Jesus had told them what was to come, had given them a glimpse of the hardships and persecutions they would face (John 15:20-21). They knew the dangers of promoting a new religion in the age of the Roman Empire and in contradiction to the Jewish authorities. Yet they were neither afraid nor angry at what was to come. They were joyful.
Let’s hold on to these verses in the weeks and months ahead as we see our way of life change. While some will face this new normal with fear and anger, we can choose to hold onto the peace that comes from Christ alone, the peace that gives us this unbreakable joy.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.John 16:33 (NKJV)
If you’d like to know more about Jesus and the peace that He promises, please comment below or contact me through social media. I would love to talk with you!
Do you have any thoughts on this “new normal” everyone is talking about? What times in the past have you had to face a new normal?