Harding promised to return the United States to its pre-war character, before the concept of total war and all it entailed had consumed the minds of the American people. He summarized his approach this way:
America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.
No doubt many today can relate to this sentiment! How many of us find ourselves longing for the “good ol’ days” before we ever heard of something called COVID-19?! It is with great anticipation, therefore, that so many await “the return to normalcy” as the pandemic subsides in the coming days. I, for one, am among them!
I retired from the pastorate on March 8th of this year. One week later, churches all over America stopped worshiping together “en masse”. It’s now been two months and many of them are still not yet gathering for worship. As a Pastor, I am not accustomed to not attending church. While I certainly understand the reasoning behind “flattening the curve”, I just miss assembling regularly with the people of God.
As if this sudden loss of interaction with our church family of nearly two decades was not bad enough, my wife and I also found ourselves being uprooted from the home in which he we had lived for the past nineteen years. The last two months have been consumed with the move (packing, transporting, and unpacking) from our previous home to our new one.
Thus, in a period of two short months, we have had to undergo very significant changes in three major contexts of life: professional, residential, and ecclesiastical. Needless to say, none of these have been easy. As a result, the two of us are in complete agreement that we are now ready for a “return to normalcy”!
In 586 B.C., the children of Judah were besieged and overrun by the Babylonians. Almost out of nowhere, the people of God were captured and marched off in chains to a foreign land hundreds of miles away. There, in Babylon, for the next seventy years, they were held in captivity.
During that time, they longed for what all they had once had, and also for the future in which they could have it once again. Eventually, in 516 B.C., God answered their prayers and allowed them to return home. But when they did, they found a land that was at once both the same and different. To be sure, it was still Judah, the very land they had been given by God. And yet, it was a very different Judah! For it had changed considerably over the intervening years. And while it would always be home for them, it would never be quite the same as it had been before.
Of course, the good news in all of this is that even though their circumstances had changed, their God had not! He was the One consistent force in their lives. He was the One who was the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And with His help and guidance, therefore, they could make a life again, no matter what their circumstances!
It is at this point that my wife and I can relate to God’s people of so long ago. We too have found ourselves in a position where our world has changed – both suddenly and rapidly. And in the process, we have longed for “a return to normalcy”.
Thankfully, after two months of furious activity, our world is finally starting to settle down. While to some degree, we are still living out of boxes, we are at least ensconced in our new residence. While we have new phone number, at least we have phone service. While our mail is in the process of being forwarded to a new address, at least we have mail service. While we have a new internet service provider, at least we have access to the web. And while we have all kinds of new channel numbers, at least we have cable TV! (After all, who could possibly live without access to The Andy Griffith Show?!)
Of course, having one’s life settle down involves so much more than merely the accoutrements of one’s residence. This is especially true for me in my profession as a Minister.
Therefore, now that I have “settled in” to my new home, I also plan to “settle in” to a new discipline. To begin with, I was forced to let my exercise cycle go during the process of our move. But this very day, I resumed exercising.
In a similar fashion, our recent move necessitated interruptions to my previously established regimen of blogging. However, as of tonight, I am now “back on track” there as well.
Just as our God has not changed, neither has my calling to serve Him! The only change here is in what capacity. As many of you know, I felt led to retire from the pastorate solely for the purpose of transitioning to a writing career. It is now my firm intention to follow through on that and begin writing in earnest. Over the coming weeks and months, I plan to continue to post regular blogs with what I hope are thoughtful and relevant ideas.
At the same time, I hope to begin writing books, and especially novels, which will be designed to have an impact for the Kingdom of God in this world. (I will be saying more about all of this in the coming days.)
In the meantime, as I continue boldly down this unknown trail into what will become my own personal and professional “new normal”, I covet your prayers. May God bless my efforts as I now pursue what all I believe He has called me to do!