It was about a year ago that I first heard a dad say, “This is like God giving us all a big ‘TIME OUT!’ to get our priorities straight.” In the midst of confusion and frustration around the progression from, “Fifteen days to flatten the curve”, to being introduced to mask mandates and social distancing, and then lockdowns, I saw the comment as a beautiful glimpse of God’s glory.
Before Covid, many dads and moms had been so caught up in the busy-ness associated with trying to get a leg up in this world that they were oblivious to how work schedules and the kids’ schedules had pushed the family’s priorities to the bottom of the page. Priorities like eating dinner together nightly, having family devotion time, having family debates over current issues and going on walks together were not on the radar. Consistent presence and cohesiveness as a family was not the norm a year ago.
Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. – Luke 24:45-49. The disciples had a life before Jesus. Then their respective worlds were rocked by a ‘new normal’ when He said, “Follow Me.” For three years they did follow Him, listening to His teaching and practicing His ministry. When He was killed, the disciples considered returning to their ‘before Jesus’ life. Continuing Jesus’ ministry at that point did not look like a good career path. Then, as documented by Luke in chapter 24, Jesus appeared to them. All were amazed but still did not believe. The Scripture says, Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand.” They indeed gained understanding that there was no going back to ‘before Jesus’ time. Nor would it be possible to live in the ‘new normal’ time of doing ministry with Jesus physically at their side. The charge was to walk in a ‘better normal’ to preach “repentance for the forgiveness of sins … in His name” once they were clothed with power from on high. That of course pointed to Pentecost and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
One dad shared how the cadence of life had changed from ‘before Covid’ to ‘during Covid’. The craziness of the kids’ schedules came to a halt after a series of canceled activities. While initially there was frustration with not getting to do all the things they had been doing, the door opened for more together time as a family and even one-on-one father/child time. Minds were opened, new priorities were embraced and new levels of relationship are being nurtured. Clothed in the power of the resurrected Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, this dad is leading his family in a ‘better normal’.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and for the wakeup call Covid has been. I confess that I allowed myself to get caught up in worldly priorities. Forgive me for succumbing to the devil’s scheme of distraction to compromise relationship with You and with my family. Grant me strength in the resurrected Christ and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to embrace new priorities and lead my family in a better normal grounded in relationship with You. That is the dad you call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father leads his family in a better normal.