While We Head for a New Reality, God is Doing a New Thing

Like many of you, I have been listening to others discuss what they believe life is going to be like once we have passed through the immediate crisis created by the COVID 19 virus. Opinions abound, and they vary widely, with some emphasizing the negative impact while others focus on the opportunities the changes will create.  The only point of agreement it seems is there will be no going back completely to the way things were, in either the short or long term.  We are heading for a new reality whether we think that is a good idea or not, and whether we feel like we are ready or not?

It was in the midst of my own personal reflections on what life would be like, I was reminded of an event that took place many years ago.  It was mostly funny at the time but proved to be a lesson learned upon later examination.  In the early 70’s I had a friend who was a very good athlete but he had never learned to play the game of golf.  In spite of his never having played before we decided one afternoon to go and play a round of golf at one of the local public courses.  Being the weekend, the course was busy but because the course didn’t take reservations for tee times, we simply paid our greens fees and got in line on the first tee. For the rest of the story, it is important to note a couple of things.  First, as is often the case, the clubhouse was directly adjacent to the first tee and had both inside and outside seating for before and after refreshments.  It is also important to point out that both areas were full of patrons and there was an additional small group of golfers waiting next to the first tee. 

After a medium wait, it was our turn to tee off and my friend teed up his ball.  Having completed a couple of practice swings, he addressed the ball with his rented driver and swung with some enthusiasm at the ball on the tee.  But to his surprise (I can still see the look on his face), and everyone else’s amazement, instead of going straight down the fairway of the first hole, the ball went dead right at a 90-degree angle.  The ball was heading directly toward a large plate glass window on the front of the clubhouse.  Fortunately, it somehow missed the window but the ball did bounce off the wooden siding into the parking lot where it was heard to be bouncing off several of the cars parked there.  The whole thing took less than a minute to unfold but the commotion drew everyone’s attention to my friend who was totally embarrassed and couldn’t get off the tee fast enough.  As he quickly headed toward the first green, he announced he would drop a ball in the fairway and play from there.  It was every beginning golfer’s worst nightmare.

Like many life events, there is much that can be learned from my friend’s experience.  But I want to make just a couple of observations and then apply them to our unfolding drama in the world today.  The first mistake my friend made was his belief that he understood the game of golf well enough to play and his second was his athleticism would carry him.  Like a number of things in life, there is more to the game of golf than it first appears.  Recognizing that would have saved him his humiliation on the first tee. 

Second, he was overly confident in his own abilities His eye-hand coordination, while proven excellent in other sports, didn’t automatically transfer to proficiency in the game of golf.  He would have benefitted greatly from learning to apply his natural ability, with even a little bit of practice, before attempting to actually get out on the course.  In applying those same lessons to our situation today I would offer a couple of thoughts and then a Biblical truth. 

First, I think it is fine to listen to leaders from all sectors as they reflect on our current circumstances and then offer where they think we will be in the future.  There is probably some wisdom in most of them.  But I would hold any predictions loosely.  I don’t believe anyone has a handle on exactly what reality is going to look like by the time we finish the year 2020.

Second, I believe it would be wise to test any assumptions we have once the future arrives.  There are likely to be subtle or hidden shifts that matter a great deal when plotting a way forward, whether it be our personal life or strategies for ministry.  Waiting, exploring more fully and digging deeper will all be helpful strategies to know what this new reality is really like?

Finally, and most importantly, I want to remind us all that God is doing a “new thing” and He has a plan.  He was not surprised by the COVID 19 pandemic but rather is turning all things together for good for those who love Him.  Therefore, we don’t need to come up with a strategy for navigating our new reality, we just need to ask Him to reveal His plan for us in this new hour. 

I also believe that God has been purposeful in preparing us for this next season.  What has God been speaking to you about?  What has God been working on in your life? Are there promises He has made to you that didn’t make sense before but make perfect sense now?  In a very real sense, we are all like Queen Esther who was placed in her position in order to save the people of Israel from Haman’s evil plot.  We live at “such a time as this” because God has a job for us to do.

I find comfort and reassurance for today and hope for tomorrow when I remember God is sovereign over all of creation and He has a plan for each of us.  He spoke to the wind and the waves in Mark 4:39 “Peace, be still.”  And it became perfectly calm.  Jesus is doing the same today, leading us into a place of supernatural peace while He exerts sovereign control over His creation.  Be encouraged, God is on the move! 






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