I ‘borrowed’ the title of this article from a sermon I heard many years ago. The pastor shared how Moses’ parents chose to ‘live normally’ and build a family while enslaved in Egypt under a death sentence on infant boys. With all the adjustments I’ve encountered during the pandemic, I feel I need a new injection of normality.
As believers who reside outside the Garden, we continuously live in a world foreign to the perfect Creation God intended for us. God has planted eternity in our souls, and we feel out of place in a world with an expiration date. Creation itself groans, longing for what God intended. (Romans 8:22). Enamored with the Creation, creatures define reality by what they can touch, taste, hear, see, and feel.
The abnormality of our times expresses itself in fear and anger. In the early days of the pandemic, my husband commented how erratically people were driving. It appeared the mere act of leaving the house to run a quick errand filled drivers with fear and anxiety. I marvel how a simple comment on the Nextdoor app can unleash a flurry of angry responses.
Watching cable news, I’m tempted to quote Pilate, “what is truth?” Pseudo-science and mind-numbing statistics mingle with political aspirations to pull me in one direction and another. Opinions become more valuable than data. Social media adds new levels of peer pressure, and paints pictures of airbrushed reality. Sadly, these skewed views tempt even believers to take sides.
How can I live normally, honoring the Lord, in such an “abnormal” world?
My soul cries out for the normality of truth, for a worldview that considers the reality beyond our five senses. I want to live as God intended, not influenced by the fear, anger, and false perspectives of our pandemic culture. But unlike Pilate, who failed to see Truth standing in front of him, I do have access to the Truth that defines normal for the believer.
The psalmist writes, “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life” (Ps. 119:92, 93). During an extended period of unemployment, these verses described my lifeline. God’s Word, His truth, gave me perspective when circumstances tempted me to despair.
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of truth. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). When my world seems off track or tempts me to think otherwise, Christ in His Word shines the light of truth on my misconceptions.
The prophet Jeremiah knew life in an abnormal world. While Judah continued to ignore his warnings, even openly persecuting him for speaking the truth, Jeremiah continued to obey the Lord. He offers his wonderful description of the man who can live outside the constraints of culture, trusting in the Lord, during difficult times. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:7-8)
More than knowing the Word intellectually, I need to trust in the saving work of Christ and the hope I have in Him. Of His many promises, Jesus assures me I can find rest from the weariness and heaviness of living in this world by coming to Him; He promises rest for my soul (Matthew 11:28, 29). I realize the hope of this promise as I seek to obey Him day by day.
An Anchor for the Soul
As Christ followers, we will never feel normal in this world. Sin’s influence keeps the sands shifting beneath our feet. Pandemics, politics, pseudo-science all threaten our security. But as I keep my eyes on the One who secured my salvation and holds my future, I can live steadied by His truth. I can trust in His transforming power to exhibit His character to a fallen world, and I can extend His love to those around me. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Trusting in Him, I can find the ‘normal’ in my abnormal world.