“‘New Normal’ is a term in business and economics that refers to financial conditions following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the aftermath of the 2008–2012 global recession. The term has since been used in a variety of other contexts to imply that something which was previously abnormal has become commonplace.[1]

Unusual occurrences tend to trigger unusual spontaneous responses. The unusual coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) that ravaged all the nations of the world triggered unusual responses intended to curb the spread of infection. According to the recommendations of the health scientists, each of the 195 nations of the world shut down all the public activities (governmental, corporate and personal) and confined their citizens to indirect technical house arrest. The world coined a name for these various approaches and called them a ‘new normal’. In the United States of America, over 36.5 million people lost their jobs within a period of about ten weeks and became tragedies of our new normal. The few that still have their jobs are working from home. The strength of the world economy melted into a recession so that bankruptcy also became part of the ugly new normal. At the time of this write up, many nations all over the world are yet to open up.

The new normal includes wearing mask as part of our day to day apparel to avoid being infected with the deadly virus. For the sake of social distancing, personal space has been redefined to include any area up to six feet from your neighbor. A new light had been shed upon the word of God that says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:20). Ironically, the total number of people that can gather at a megachurch have been limited to at most ten. Suddenly, every living room has become a satellite of the church. Internet video conferencing, once limited to business and educational use, has now become the new normal means of meeting every Sunday. It is now normal for marriage ceremonies and baby dedications to be conducted online. It is newly normal for the highest court in the land to make landmark decisions and conduct important hearings via Zoom.

When a man operates in sinfulness and strays far from his Creator, the new normal of his life becomes God’s wrath against his sins. In the days of Elijah, God Held back the rain for three years because of Ahab’s unrighteousness. Over three years, famine became Israel’s new normal. Today, despite abundant rain, our economies are experiencing a drought. But this is not unheard of from God’s judgment. In order to warn us away from unrighteousness, He said, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people …”  (2 Chronicles 7:13) We do not have a drought today and we are not experiencing the evasion of locusts but right now we are experiencing pestilence all over the world. 

But while the plague and suffering are new for us, our “God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should repent.” (Numbers 23:19) It is eternally normal, for God to judge the wicked. It is also normal, while the wicked are judged, for His mercy to abound towards His righteous children. In the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, God preserved righteous Lot and the family which followed him. God sent angels to hold their hands and lead them away from the fire and brimstone falling from the sky (Genesis 19:15-17). When the firstborn of the Egyptians died, God Almighty preserved the Israelites in the land of Goshen. His ever present new normal towards His children, is always His grace and mercy. By His grace, throughout the three and half years of drought, He made the unclean ravens become Elijah’s chef that brought him breakfast and dinner. God said to Elijah, “Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. (1 Kings 17:3-4, 6)  

When the brook of Cherith dried up, the mercy of God never dried up and indeed endures forever. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Again, the Lord extends His new normal of divine provision to feed Elijah. Through the gentile widow of Zarephath, who was impoverished and poor but abundantly rich in faith, God fed Elijah. God told him, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.  And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah. 

Since God will not change in His wrath towards sin and will not change in His mercy towards righteous, then it is us—me and you—who must change so that our new normal can be His ‘mercy and grace.’ “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)  When humanity comes down from their high horse in humility, repent and turn away from their wickedness and seek the face of God to reconcile with Him in a cordial and consistently fervent relationship, then our new normal will be God’s blessing of healing our land.

Our Heavenly Father had promised His children that He will establish a new normal among them. Such was the case with Israel while they were captives of Babylon. Normally the slaves, captives of the most powerful empire of the world, cannot easily escape from the clutches of their captors. The Israelites thought that they will all perish in servitude to the Babylonian empire. But God said, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) God stirred the heart of Cyrus, the king of Babylonian Empire, a gentile unbelieving king, to establish His glory among the Israelites. “Thus, saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:2-3) A new normal suddenly occurred when an idol-worshiping king woke up one day and commanded that a temple of God be built for him in the city of Jerusalem. The king called upon the elders in Israel in the captivity and bid them to return to Jerusalem to carry out the project of the New Temple. Through this divine intervention, God brought them out of the captivity of their enemies. When the Israelites, the people of God experienced this uncommon new normal in their lives in their captivity, they testified with a song, “When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” (Psalm 126:1-2) 

The city of Nineveh—the robber city—was slated for judgment of God because of the evil activities of the inhabitants of the city. Yet when prophet Jonah entered the city and shouted, “… yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” the whole city trembled and repented of their evil ways. They fasted, prayed, and pled for mercy of God. God manifested in His mercy and forgiveness became the new normal for the city. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3:10) Humanity no longer listens to the prophets. We only worship science and will only listen to the priests of science—journalists and scientists. Just as wisdom was shouting In Proverbs 1:20, the scripture says, “Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square.” COVID-19, the noisome pestilence is screaming in our streets today, telling the sinners to return to God and make peace with Him to avoid sudden death and eternal destruction in hell. I pray that we may all be sensitive to the impulses of Holy Spirit who is reminding us in this challenging time that the permanent last address of all unrepented sinners is hell fire—the eternal normal for all sinners. But your new normal can be His eternal mercy. You only need to be reconciled with God by believing in Jesus Christ and repenting of your sins. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37-38) Perhaps the Spirit of God is saying something to your heart right now, this is the time to listen and yield to the impulses of the Holy Spirit that is calling you to the righteous side of God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) 

Prayer:  Oh Lord, I pray for your mercy and compassion at this challenging time, save me O Lord by the power of your grace. Let me faithfully pitch my tent under the canopy of your love before it is too late. Please Lord, do not let me miss the new normal of rapture experience when the trumpet shall sound at last. Let my name be imprinted in the Book of Life, in Jesus name, Amen.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Normal_(business) Online information obtained on May 13, 2020


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