Last weekend, I went grocery shopping for the first time in nearly four months. Considering my underlying health conditions, my dad has been shopping for groceries while I stay in the vehicle. This method has worked out well, since it means that one of us is free of contaminants when it comes time to bring groceries into the house. No, we have not let our guard down. We are still wearing masks in public, and we are sanitizing our groceries when we bring them home. I just felt it was time that I saw for myself what the inside of the store was like after enduring four months of a pandemic. What I witnessed was a stark reminder of how the world has essentially changed overnight.

COVID-19 signs plastered the doors, aisle markers directed one-way traffic through the store, and special markers instructed shoppers where to stand in line to encourage social distancing. What a drastic difference to our last trip inside the grocery store together. Being that my dad and I love to cook and bake, it only makes sense that we also enjoy grocery shopping. Now, instead of a leisurely stroll through each aisle, we quickly grabbed the items on our list and vacated the premises. There is no fun found in looking at barren shelves, all while simultaneously trying to navigate between the shoppers with masks and those without.

A couple of months ago, someone commented to me concerning their disdain for the oft-repeated phrase, “a new normal,” when it comes to the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the entire world. Unfortunately, I believe we are now experiencing a “new normal,” for it seems the “old normal” becomes more of a distant memory every single day. How fragile this world is for everything to be “normal” one day, only to rapidly change in a way we would have never expected. One single cell emerged to inflict a global pandemic upon the earth, adversely affecting the lives of millions of people.

On the evening of March 13, 2020, the announcement was made that all schools in my home state of Florida would be closed. Other closures came about quickly, leading to a complete lockdown in many parts of the world. One moment, we were living our everyday lives. The next moment, we were striving to preserve our lives. Nearly fourteen million people have contracted COVID-19 around the globe. Sadly, almost four hundred thousand people have lost their lives to this highly infectious disease. To make matters worse, the numbers are increasing daily at greater-than-anticipated rates.

Now, as the new school year is just around the corner for the majority of students, there is much debate about when and how schools should reopen. There is equally great controversy over whether people should wear masks or not. Others disagree on whether the reopening of various types of businesses should move forward with zeal or slow down with caution. While everyone seems to have an opinion concerning the many unknown variables surrounding this plague, we are also battling the ill effects of civil unrest, abortions, sexual immorality, and a myriad of other negative influences on society. It seems human decency has been thrown out with yesterday’s newspaper. Even with the state of the world’s affairs, there is hope amid what seems like a hopeless situation.

Jesus Christ is the only source of everlasting hope. No matter what happens on this earth, we can always put our trust in Jesus Christ, for He will never fail. We can depend on Him to help us through every calamity in life. He said, “‘Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33 NLT). No matter what happens in this world, we can rest assured that Jesus has already conquered our vilest storms. He will be our shelter from the storm, serving as our refuge and strength in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1).

Even though the world has changed drastically over the past few months, the world will change in an even greater way when the Lord returns to this earth. For Christians, this will be the most glorious day of their lives. For non-believers, it will likely be the worst. God’s Word says He will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2). Think about it. A burglar would not call or text you to let you know they were planning to break into your house. The news headlines will never read, “Christ Comes Back Tomorrow.” We must confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior before it is too late (see John 3:16; Romans 10:9).

If you have already put your trust in Jesus Christ, the Bible says we should share the Good News with everyone (Mark 16:15). First Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NLT) says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” Let us encourage everyone, reminding them that this world is our temporary home. The trials and tribulations we endure will only last for a moment, but the salvation that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Savior will last for all eternity.

Although this world is ever changing, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ will never change. If you are burdened by the shortcomings of this world, take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus Christ will always love you more than you could ever imagine. Nothing in the entire world will ever change this wondrous fact. While the world may seemingly change overnight, remember, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8 NLT).