On a podcast I heard this week, a mother was relating how she struggled to keep her younger children occupied while helping her older child with home-based learning because of the lock down in her country.1
While helping with her older child’s school work, her younger children asked if they could play with a cardboard box. She said they could. A few moments later, her younger children were scattering styrofoam bits from that cardboard box everywhere, making the house look like a winter wonderland.
To make matters worse, her attempt at vacuuming up the mess failed. Her vacuum cleaner blew out air at the styrofoam bits instead, transforming the house into an instant snow globe.
This New Normal has made our lives truly Abnormal.
It would have been abnormal a few years ago to only visit 2 households per day for Chinese New Year. It would have been abnormal a few years ago to only have 8 visitors in a house. But this is the New Normal.
Instead of visiting others this Chinese New Year, you might be visited at home by tantrums, screams and arguments from restless children (or even adults).
Living in an abnormal situation is painful. But this reminds us about what we’ve learnt from 1 Peter. And the struggles we go through are golden opportunities to teach our children important lessons.
Peter reminds us, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11).
We are foreigners and exiles in this world. We are not tourists. We can’t expect this world to be comfortable, and neither should we be comfortable here. This world is not our home.
This world is not comfortable at all. Because of COVID, we do all we can to keep our children safe. We sanitize our children’s hands regularly, and remind them to bring their TraceTogether tokens. We also check the list of places visited by confirmed cases to make sure we weren’t there.
Just as COVID has waged war against humanity, sin is waging war against your soul.
As we and our children struggle against sin, let’s remind ourselves that doing what sin wants is not who Christians are. We are God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. As God’s people, we must struggle with God’s help against sin, to abstain from its desires.
When our children see us parents struggling against sin, they learn that this struggle is not abnormal. This is the Christian’s New Normal.
This might mean being honest about some areas of struggle, praying together with your children for your struggle, and noting together the progress in your godliness over the long term.
As we model the Christian’s New Normal, may our children grasp it and join us in declaring the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.