What’s Normal, Anyway?

God is faithful though any circumstances

The transition from December 31 to January 1 is just a change from one day to the next. But January 1 is not just a new day or even the start of a new month: it’s a whole new calendar of blank pages, full of hope and possibilities.

The most prevalent hope I hear is that life gets “back to normal,” especially in regard to the coronavirus. We’d love for it go away completely, or at lease recede to rare occurrences, like the swine flu or the bird flu. We want to go about our business without worrying about exposure and masks how many people are gathered in one place.

It’s harder to hope for some of the other issues prevalent during the last year. We still have a long way to go in race relations. And I don’t know if the political landscape will ever improve.

But desiring normalcy for the last several months has led me to wonder—what’s normal, anyway?

America has always had its troubles, but we’ve had it a good deal better than many. We have poverty here, but people who travel to third-world countries are often stunned by the breadth and depth of poverty in other places. Some countries are almost perpetually in a state of war. Some areas are rife with corruption. Armed guards regularly patrol some streets. Some citizens risk their lives to vote.

Through the Bible, Israel was in captivity to Egypt 400 years, Babylon 70 years. Most of their rulers were evil.

Early Christians were persecuted under wicked emperors. More recent believers suffered under Communist oppression. Many are persecuted in several countries even now.

The prophet Habakkuk complained to the Lord:

Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Habakkuk 1:3b-4)

He basically asked God, “What are you going to do about this?

God replied that he was sending the “dreaded and fearsome” Chaldean army (vv. 5-11).

Habakkuk wonders, “What? You can’t let that happen!”

But in their further conversation, God established that He can and He will. But, He says, “but the righteous shall live by his faith” (2:4b).

By the end of chapter 3, Habakkuk concludes that, though his body trembles and lip quivers (3:16):

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places. (3:17-19)

I hope with everything in me that life improves on every front this year. But whatever happens, these are some of the truths I carry with me:

  • God is good, even if circumstances aren’t.
  • God is at work, even if it doesn’t look like it.
  • God loves me, even if life is hard.
  • My job is the same: trust in Him, live for Him, rejoice in Him, love Him, grow in Him, fortify and feed myself with His Word.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses repeated God’s instruction to Israel before they entered the promised land after 40 years of wilderness wandering. One of the things He promised them was:

But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

Though our context is different, I think we can take comfort and courage in these same truths. Through the “hills and valleys” of the coming year, God eyes are on us and He cares for us.

The righteous shall live by his faith

(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Senior Salon, Hearth and Soul, Selah, Tell His Story, Instaencouragements, Recharge Wednesday, Share a Link Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network)

21 thoughts on “What’s Normal, Anyway?

  1. I can cast my cares on the Lord for I know He cares for me. Thank you for sharing the verses and encouragement. I am stopping by from the 31 days group.

  2. Good Monday to you, Barbara. Your header is all warm and cozy and hits where I live today. Some things continue as normal … blogging is one of them. Caring for home. Prayer. Solitude. Walks outdoors. Favorite shows on TV. A pile of books to read.

    God’s Word, of course, more powerful than ever.

    Other ‘new normal’ situations are still unsettling and. sad. Not worshipping with everyone together at a local church. Not seeing my mom in the care facility or my girls and their families for months on end. Wearing masks all the time. No hugs with casual friends. No eating out without endless precautions. No traveling. Real and valid health concerns.

    That the Lord hasn’t changed is a true solace, comfort, and hope. He’s not at all surprised at what is unfolding … and He cares so very deeply. Therein lies our peace.

  3. I am definitely one who has wished, multiple times, for things to get back to “normal.” Your post reminds me of a conversation I had with my organ church pastor’s wife, who is dealing with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. We were discussing that even though we have faith and know that God could heal her in a blink, the difficult part is not knowing whether it is His *will* to heal in this situation. That’s where your listing of truths comes in. I’m so grateful for the things we do know for sure, in good times and in bad.

    • That’s something I have wrestled with, too, with my own issues and in praying for others–knowing that God could heal in an instant but not knowing if that was His will. It’s heartbreaking when it’s not–the grandson of friends just passed away with leukemia last year after battling for several years. So hard to understand, but a reminder that none of us is guaranteed 70-80+ years. Knowing and resting on those foundational truths keeps us steady.

  4. I just finished reading the Book of Habakkuk a few days ago. I have often wondered about some of the same things Habakkuk asked God about – the exile and subsequent re-gathering of God’s people to Jerusalem and Jordan. Your faithful words touched me – God is good and He is at work, even though it may not seem like it to us at the time. Trust and patience!

    • Habakkuk is one of my favorite books. But I don’t understand all those aspects either. He’s a lesson to me to trust even when I don’t understand, even when the news makes me tremble.

  5. There are so many things I hope will get back to normal this year – mainly just the simple things like being able to see friends and family when I want to and being able to hug people and play music together. I love those verses from Habakkuk though – they are a great reminder that our hope is in something far deeper and more certain than our circumstances, and that’s something we need to hold onto right now.

    • Yes–me, too, Lesley. I hope being able to gather and interact gets back to normal soon. That’s at least one good thing that has come out of all this–we treasure those things even more.

  6. I read those verses in Habakkuk the other day. God is always working even when we think he’s not. That’s all I have to go on in 2021. Sure, I miss going to the gym, dining out occasionally, connecting with friends, etc., however, I’ve had to create new normals until old ways of being resume. Eso sí que es.

  7. Barbara, you brought such a good word, although Habakkuk is one of my favorite books of the Bible 🙂 It is so true, no matter what the coming year may hold for us, “through the “hills and valleys” of the coming year, God eyes are on us and He cares for us.” He has been faithful and He will remain faithful, at all times and in all things.

  8. Pingback: Exciting #145 Senior Salon • Esme Salon

  9. Pingback: January Reflections | Stray Thoughts

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