“Welcome to the new normal!” “I wish things could get back to normal!” “Finally, we’re getting back to normal!”
I have heard (and even expressed) similar sentiments since new guidance, mandates, and rules began to upset our lives a year ago last March. But I would ask you, what is “normal,” and do we really want to return to it? This question is especially fitting when it comes to our Christian schools, which will be opening their doors to students again this month.
“Normal” describes that which is expected, that which is considered typical. So, what was normal before the pandemic? Parents murdering their children, legally and illegally; people cheating and stealing from one another; political turmoil; areas of our world devastated by war and poverty; and, oh yes, we did have disease and death before COVID-19! Is this a world that we can call “normal” by any stretch of the imagination? Is this what we want to go back to?
God had a much higher standard for the world when He created it. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) In the beginning plants, animals, nature, and mankind all worked together in perfect order and harmony with the Creator. That was God’s idea of normal! Yet man had a different idea from God’s. His rebellion against God in the Garden brought nothing but the disharmony and destruction mentioned earlier.
So, what do we do now? Can we get back to the real normal? The Holy Scriptures give us clear answers to both questions—what will and will not work. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 146:3 ESV) No government has been invented that can remove all our problems and troubles. No vaccine has been created that can cure all sicknesses or death, especially not the disease of sin or eternal death in hell. Only our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, can do and has done that with His death and resurrection. Do we still have trials and troubles? Of course, but Jesus reminds us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV) We have overcome this world through Christ!
So, when things do start to return to “normal,” how should we respond? “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)
Thank God that our Christian day schools do not teach our children to be normal. Our teachers don’t teach our children to blend in with the lost souls of the world. Rather, we teach and encourage our lambs to stand out as followers of Christ. Like other schools, we must provide an education that enables our children to survive and thrive in this sinful world. However, as schools of Christ we especially prepare them for the world to come. A Christian school does much more than just add Bible stories to the regular curriculum. We are able to teach the Bible as history, God’s story about our loss of that perfect normal world to begin with, and also how we regain the new paradise through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our Christian schools also give purpose to the regular curricular subjects. What better reason to study literature and music than to read God’s Word and sing His praises? Science makes sense and is useful to mankind because God created an orderly universe for us to rule and explore. Even our students who don’t enjoy math can be shown the beauty of numbers, the wisdom behind them, and can learn to use them for their lives and to count their blessings.
Our Christian schools truly stand ready to assist children to “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV)
David W. Bernthal is a retired teacher. He is a member of Luther Memorial Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.