What is Normal?
When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future.
We all have good days and bad days. We’ve all experienced times when nothing could possibly go wrong, and other times when it seems nothing is ever going to go right. Many times it’s just when all is right with the world that the rug is pulled out from under us and we come crashing down in despair because, it seems, everything and everyone has turned against us. It is in that moment that we often ask, “When will things ever get back to normal?”
But were they ever really normal? How do you define “normal?” Is it only when things seem right? Is it only when you’re getting along with everyone? Why have we chosen to leave pain and loss and disappointment out of our definition of what is “normal?”
This passage from Ecclesiastes reminds us that God is in control of it all. I don’t believe that he creates evil or that he intentionally makes “bad things” happen to “good people,” but he has created the world and all that we know. And, sometimes, the things in this world don’t always jive with where we’re at in life, or what we have planned, or where we’re going. Sometimes we cross paths with other people, other circumstances, other options, that seem, for a brief moment, to be parallel to our own experience. This is when life is good. This is “normal” by human standards. But God has a plan laid out for every individual person and situation. So, sometimes, things change. Many times change means that we have to deal with pain, loss, and disappointment. But we must realize that this should be, and must be, a part of our “normal” experience.
A man cannot discover anything about his future
Only God knows where you are going. Only He can predict what paths we will cross, and whether or not those paths will continue together on the same journey. So, instead of longing for the “normalcy” of the good times, rejoice! Be glad that those brief experiences happened in our lives. Learn from them, then look forward to the next big thing that God has planned for us!
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
~2 Corinthians 4:17-18~
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
~1 Peter 4:12~