Have you ever thought about how God works through trials? I hate the term “New Normal.” I started writing this post four different times until I realized I was trying to avoid these two words. The first time I heard them was a few days after our daughter died. Someone who meant well-tried to explain away the extreme amount of difference we were facing by merely saying, “You will find a new normal.” I have heard it again in recent days. We all used to have our routines and standard operating procedures. Everything has changed at this point.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 NIV
Many years ago, at a men’s conference, I heard a message about having to decide each day if you have spent that day in a way that glorifies God or in a way that will, in essence, burn in Hell. In other words, “How did you spend your day?” became a way of not just evaluating yourself, but a way to be accountable to that effort. After hearing that, a friend of mine walked into my office and dropped a bag of marbles on my desk along with a glass jar and a plastic one. He said that the glass jar represented heaven, and the plastic jar represented a wasted day, nothing of eternal value.
We kept this up for a while. We recognized a pattern. I was always putting marbles in the plastic jar, and my friend was always putting his in the glass jar. We both wanted to use this exercise as a tool to be better husbands and fathers. We differed in our standard of evaluation, but we both ended up condemning ourselves. We decided that we should lose our marbles. While I have grown in this area, I am still chronically hard on myself.
How God Works Through Trials
So are you. I don’t even know you, and I can say that confidently. If I continue the analogy with the marbles, they are all unique. It is rare to find two that are the same. Likewise, we are all a one of a kind creation, but too many times, we set our marble next to someone else and look at the differences. The problem is sometimes we see uniqueness as a weakness. I think it is the very beauty of creation.
If God wanted us all the same, we would be. What He accomplished in our differences is spectacular. Look at the world around you right now. We have seen people stretched beyond anything they ever imagined. Jobs, work in general, food, security, and faith have all been scrambled. If I look at my calendar for tomorrow, it has certainly changed from what it is typically. The nightly news can be scary, but we sometimes need to be reminded that God has not left the throne.
Not to downplay a potentially deadly virus, but the mortality rate of humans is 100%. Maybe something positive out of this will be a realignment of how we examine our lives. Perhaps we will be even more thankful for people, once we can be around them again. Maybe jobs will be more appreciated, even if it is not our dream job. Perhaps we will realize that it is. Hugs will undoubtedly feel better. The company of other humans will feel even more special. Here’s what we know: How God works through trials. He brings glory to His name.
You Are Uniquely His
What I want to encourage you to do is to not lose your marbles. Don’t look at the differences using comparative analysis. Whether you are comparing yourself to others, or comparing life to what used to be, look at the difference as part of the beauty. Appreciate the individual you are. Be thankful for your health as long as you have it. Remember, the journey we are on does not end tomorrow. With Christ, it does not end at all. It does eventually transition to eternity, but that means a level of beauty we cannot yet understand.
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Thanks for this. I don’t like the term “new normal “ but I believe we are finding “new ways of doing normal.” The virus does not stop God and His plan. But we now have a great chance to reach the lost. Maybe that becomes the new normal.
Love this message during this time! We will get through this and Romans 8:6 is exactly what we must stand on!
This article hit home with me, you’re right, I’m hard on myself, thanks for the invitation to loose my marbles, and a better way to look at how we might be at the end of this thing. I for one will definitely examine my life differently after this is over.
“All things work together for good to them that love God” doesn’t mean all things are good. Covid19 is not good. Death is not good. But God has a way of bringing good out of even terrible things and you mentioned some in your beautifully written and encouraging message. Neighbors, some of whom I hardly know, are more than ready to help, and have. People ask “how are you” and really mean it. Thank you for reminding me that there is still grace from a loving God today.
Truly “normal” is only a form of perception. How to we perceive the world around us? I know that when I use the lense of God, And of His word that the circumstances really don’t matter. Yes sometimes those circumstances can really stink and we even may grovel in them for a while but when we rejoice always we will have joy. My Pastor said it today even. “Joy is focus not feeling.” Your joy come from what you focus on. So where is your focus!?