As we move through this time of the pandemic, we’re all starting to wonder what life will look like in the future.
We think in economic terms, asking questions like:
- “Will I ever be able to recover the money I lost from my retirement account?”
- “Will my favorite restaurants and businesses survive long enough to open back up?”
- “Will I have the same job in six months that I have now?”
We wonder about our daily routines:
- “Will school ever look the same for my kids?”
- “Will I ever commute to an office again?”
- “Will the grocery stores and drive-thrus ever take down the plexiglass between me and the cashier?”
We have questions about our health:
- “Will a vaccine ever be developed, or will we just have to learn to live with or manage COVID-19?”
- “Will we now be expected to break out the masks whenever an illness is going around?”
- “Will I ever feel confident eating from a buffet again?”
We wonder about our churches:
- “Will we ever ‘pass the plate’ for Communion and Offering again?”
- “Will we see all the same people back at church once we’re able to meet again, or will some fall off the radar?”
- “Will Joshua continue wearing novelty t-shirts when he does Welcome and Announcements?”
All joking aside, we all have questions about what life will look like on the other side of this pandemic (whenever that time comes). Surely many things will return to “normal”; but there may be just as many that will never be the same. This pandemic may kick start changes that probably should have happened a long time ago, and may even be worth celebrating. But it might also be the death of traditions and practices that we will sorely miss (I, for one, hope 2020 is not the end of the handshake, as some have prophesied).
Thinking ahead like this – with so many unanswered questions – can be dizzying. Some may see a world of potential, and get excited about all the new possibilities in this uncharted frontier. Others may see nothing but uncertainty, and be filled with stress and anxiety. Either way, one probably shouldn’t spend too much time speculating about what we can’t know; we’ll simply have to cross many of these bridges when we get there.
But we can’t help but wonder: how will life be different in our post-pandemic world?
While I can’t authoritatively answer that question (or any of the questions listed above), I can be confident of this:
God will still be God. Jesus will still be fully God and fully man. Justification for sinners will still be found by faith in Jesus’s broken body and shed blood on the cross. Jesus will still one day return in power and glory. The Holy Spirit will still be at work convicting the world of sin, softening the hearts and opening the minds of non-believers to the preaching of the gospel. The Holy Spirit will still be indwelling and sanctifying believers to look, act, think, speak, and love in a more godly manner. The gates of hell will still not prevail against the Church. Christ will still return in power and glory, and those who have believed in him will still rise from the dead and will still live with him forever.
There are plenty of questions, uncertainties, and unknowns as we look past the pandemic, and think about what comes next. There will be many changes, I’m sure – some good, and some bad. As we consider all this volatility, it may be easy to be overwhelmed to the point of denial, fear, or even a kind of paralysis.
But no matter how different the world looks three months from now, three years from now, or three decades from now – and regardless of what old practices this pandemic kills, or what new practices it causes to be born – God will still be God.
And as long as that is true, God’s people still have reason for peace, joy, and confidence – even in a world of change.
Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)