As you may know, the most common question I receive in my every day life is about you.
'Do I miss you?' 'Do I want you back?' 'Do I feel like I did when I did life with you?' 'Am I back with you?'
But here’s the doozy of them all— 'If I could do it all over again, would I still have left you?'
My “normal-life” that is.
Would I have had the surgery? You know the one— the surgery which implanted two seventeen inch titanium bars along the spine; & twenty four hooks and screws in twelve vertebrae’s which has left me limited to do activities I once enjoyed. The surgery which now makes a simple task of tying my shoe or picking up clothes from a floor not without difficulty. The surgery which forbids the holding of anything more than 20lbs. The surgery which has caused a consistent stream of a nagging ache.
But can we ever go back to you? After a life-changing surgery; or far worse- after a traumatic event * after a loss of a child, a spouse, a parent, a loved one * after a life or death situation * after a life-threatening illness * after a divorce * after a betrayal * after an accident * after an addiction * after a heart-ache?
Do we ever really return back to you... back to normal?
But just possibly, could it be—doing life with you, I lacked authentic empathy? Maybe life with you I denied genuine compassion. Maybe life with you I disregarded sincere sympathy. Maybe life with you I overlooked others private suffering. Maybe life with you I never experienced the undeserving rescuing power of Jesus.
Could it be God is after my calling, after my character, after my courage; more than He is my comfort? This same comfort once found as my constant companion and a means to an end while doing life with you— life in the normal.
Because God says when my bones are in agony and my soul is in deep anguish, He saves me with His unfailing love (psalm 6.3-4)
Because He says when I’m broken hearted, He’s close to me while rescuing my crushed spirit (Psalm 34.18)
Because He says when my heart is overwhelmed, He leads me to His Rock of safety where He alone is my refuge and fortress (Psalm 61.3)
Because He says when death knocks on my door, He redeems me, heals me and forgives me— filling my life with good things (Psalm 103.5)
Because He says after I have suffered a little while, He restores, supports, and strengthens me- placing my feet on a firm foundation (1Peter 5.10)
And if being with you, normal, means not experiencing these life-giving, life-supplying, life-altering, life-transforming experiences with God, than the well-known statement has proven to be pointedly true about you...
you are most definitely over-rated.
Interestingly enough, it was when I broke free from your routine dullness, your fictitious safety, your stale apathy— I truly found life.
life, operating in this new season separated from you, normal, where I meditate on the words of Job. A man who was considered blameless and upright— all the while basking in the favor of his normality; a normal filled to overflow of blessings.
Yet, his normal was hyjacked. Snatched. Snuffed out and replaced with deep physical pain. Relentless suffering. Unending shame. Vindictive accusations. Humiliating circumstances. Immeasurable loss.
But it was also here, in the thick of his new-normal, where job dropped to his knees and cried out..."My ears had only heard of you before, but now my eyes have seen You” (Job 42.5.)
Because smack dab in the mundane of our normal, we’ve only heard of Gods name. We’ve only heard of His great works. We’ve only heard of His unfathomable mercy. We’ve only heard of His unfailing love. We’ve only heard of His unshakeable power.
We only heard.
Oh, but now—after the suffering, after the heartache, after the storm, after the diagnosis, after the accident, after the loss, after the normal's been stripped.... we have seen.
Yes, we have seen His face shining, illuminating, gleaming into the heart’s fertile soil containing seedlings of new-normals. New passions. New callings. New desires. New revelations. New empathy. New relationships. New courage. New strength. New wisdom. New perspective- A new intimate, unending, anchored love for a God who chooses to use that which the enemy intended for harm, as good (Genesis 50.20.)
A new-normal far too rich, far too deep, far too beautiful to ever return to you, normal.
And so today, while here in our new-normal, we may have more scars, more bumps, more bruises--physically &/or emotionally-- yet they're just simple reminders that the Lord indeed fought the good fight; all the while whispering deep within the confinement of our heart, "You need only to be still. I got this."
And when we're asked the all too familiar question-- "Are we back to normal?" we can unequivocally, indisputably, unmistakably, unquestionably respond with a hope-infused, "nope."
A joy-filled-nope detaching itself from the grips of the dangerously-entising normal; all while leaping into the uncompromising safety, the unwavering protection, the secured locked arms of God. It's now here where we no longer just hear of His name, but see with unclouded vision, His perfect radiant face eagerly waiting our long-anticipated arrival in the matchless beauty of our new- normal.