Many advertisers are airing commercials talking about “the new normal.” In this new normal, you can buy a car without seeing the salesman’s shifty smile, shaking his hand, or even smelling the liver and onions on his breath. You can select the vehicle online, and it will be delivered to your door. But don’t worry. The delivery driver won’t knock on the door or come within 20 feet of your house. If he feels the urge to sneeze, he’ll suppress it until he gets back to the dealership.
And in this new normal, don’t worry about making any payments. You’ve got three months before your first payment is due, and we’ll give you 10 or 20 years to pay off the loan. It’ll be sort of like your mortgage payment, except that (unlike your house) the car won’t be worth two cents when you finally pay it off.
Okay, you’ve guessed it. I think the talk about “the new normal” is silly. The sudden loss of millions of jobs isn’t normal. The cancellation of weddings, funerals, birthday parties, and ball games isn’t normal. Closing churches, schools, and businesses isn’t normal. Having a baby without your husband in the delivery room isn’t normal. Wearing masks to the grocery store isn’t normal.
It’s weird. It’s distressing. If an F-5 tornado is blowing everything apart, don’t tell me it’s normal weather and that I’ll get used to it. No, I won’t. It’s a bad storm. It’s doing a lot of damage. I just want to get through it.
This brings me to the good news: Storms pass. On Sunday afternoon, a strong storm blew through Seagoville. The sky darkened, thunder boomed, and a cold wind drove along a mix of rain and hail. An hour or so later, I decided to take a walk. The change in the weather was a delightful surprise! The sun was shining brilliantly, the sky was a dazzling blue, and the air was pleasantly warm.
The Coronavirus panic has darkened the sky and blown our world apart. But storms pass. Elihu son of Barachel reminded Job that “by the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. […] And now no one looks on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty” (Job 37:10-11, 21-22).