I’ve probably written this post about one-hundred times—between in my head and on the computer screen–because I haven’t been able to say what I want to say exactly how I want to say it. And let me tell you, that’s frustrating for someone who really loves words.
Instead of the constant sound of clickity-clack on my keyboard, it’s been replaced by silence. Empty page. Blinky cursor.
Curse that cursor, it mocks me, reminding me that my words are gone—at least all the honest words.
You see, my normal up and left at the beginning of the year and took my words with it. And now it would seem I’m in good company because everyone’s normal went missing.
Normal. What normal?
My lack of normal started with moving to a rental house in January while we build our new home. Then, to make a long story short—because that’s a post for another day—I’ve been sick. Really sick. Like 20lbs dropped so far, sick. (As much as I’d love to recommend this new diet, in good conscience, I just can’t.)
So, sickness has been my middle name since the beginning of the year, which is the reason for my silence and a new hobby of cursor staring. I’ve been dealing with severe abdominal pain and discomfort while hardly being able to eat much of anything on some days. My past few months have seen many tests, doctors’ offices, a stay in the hospital and finally a partial diagnosis of a bacterial infection in my digestive tract caused by antibiotic usage for a tooth infection. And still, more testing awaits… (Again, for another post–I promise I’ll get that out soon.)
So here I sit, not feeling so great most days and wondering what on Earth could possibly be the point of this present moment that I’m in. It seems like such a waste, there’s so much I could be doing if I could just feel normal again.
I’ve also noticed how much fearfulness infiltrates my heart when my normalcy is snatched away. And I’m thinking maybe I’m not alone in this dilemma. Because of the current state of affairs, some of us are missing health and all of us are missing normal while waiting for this awful season of sickness to take a hike.
If we’re being honest, we feel fear when normal is gone and we just wish it would return.
Who took my normal?
Through all of my personal issues and with the global pandemic raging on, I have been wrestling with the topic of suffering and the lack of normal that comes with it. I’ve been thinking about how easy it is for fear to take hold when our normal is absent.
I mean, who doesn’t love normal? It’s so cozy waking up and knowing you have a plan for the day and then going to bed knowing it went exactly as it was supposed to. Warm, comfy, cozy—normal.
And then something happens that upsets that beautiful balance; our “normal” gets shaken, turned upside down and thrown under the bus and we get mad. Almost indignant. Or completely depressed. (tell me this isn’t just me…) We wish we could respond with unshakable faith in times such as these but we’re human, and we’re often totally blindsided and shocked by our trials.
We know logically that we will suffer here on this Earth, it’s a guarantee. In the Bible, we’re literally told we will have trouble in this world.
So why the shock?
My theory? Because normalcy equals control.
What human doesn’t love control? I know I do. I think that could possibly be the biggest reason for our love of normal; we feel like we’re in control when things are “normal.”
And let’s be honest, none of us are really in control.
We know at an intellectual level that we will have trials but I believe once they hit us on an emotional day-to-day level and upset our apple carts, we’re left stunned. Unprepared.
Because—this. was. not. planned.
We don’t choose when normal leaves and trials enter.
I’ve found that this question of suffering always comes back to the one that holds the healing and the hurt in his hands. Whether you blame him or humbly place yourself beneath his mighty hand, it always circles back here.
If we lived on this Earth of our own volition perhaps we could have these discussions without mentioning God. However, just as I don’t choose what trials I must wade through, I didn’t choose to be born in the first place.
I didn’t think so.
We walked on to the scene in a chosen time and place that had nothing to do with what we wanted. We were just here one day. And like everything else, he chose that day.
It’s a little strange to think our existence belongs to someone else. Someone that can not be seen or figured or negotiated with. Someone so much bigger than any of what we see here. He is the one that holds our days and nights and keeps the whole world in its balances.
And while this is a necessary truth, it’s not all that comforting.
Unless… you know this someone that holds every little thing in his hands.
He makes it beautiful in its time.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 3 we are told that there is a time for everything. Specifically, he has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
This he is the one that holds you. He is the one that planned, created, lived, died and rose again.
If he loved us enough to die for us shouldn’t we be confident that he has made a space for this abnormal just as much as for all of the normal we enjoy? And what’s more, we can be sure he will make it beautiful in its time.
If there’s a specific time for all of this that means there’s a plan behind all of it.
Friend, know this: He has a plan. And that plan is to make everything beautiful in its time. Even this hard place.
Maybe, just maybe, now isn’t that time for beauty from this trial…Not just yet anyway.
After all, if we trust him like we say we do, and if there is truly a time for everything, then maybe right now is the time to wait patiently to see the beauty that will come.
Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be very comforting to leave the result of my struggle in someone else’s hands. But it’s quite different when it is in the hands of the God that died to save me.
How to live fearless when normal is gone
I find such hope in knowing that it is a loving God that created the time for everything. Not just the good, normal, cozy things—everything. Even this place that I don’t really want to be in.
And though it may feel wasteful to me, he doesn’t waste anything but instead uses the most barren of places to bring about the most beautiful.
We can live fearlessly and thrive during this abnormal time because we know the one that holds the times and seasons in his hand. Yes, we feel our lack of normal on a visceral level but we don’t have to let it define us. Knowing him intimately is the key to living a life that isn’t controlled by our situation and circumstances. Even the hardest season will be made beautiful because he is faithful and will keep his promise. Sure, we may have to wait to see it, but just think how much more beautiful it will be when the wait is over.
I’m not sure what he is doing in this awkward, painful, uncomfortable place, but what I am absolutely confident of, is that he knows what he is doing and I can simply rest in that truth today.
Remember with me, dear friend, that He is the strength of our souls, the sustainer of our lives and even though we may not feel it, he has this under control.
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
11. He has made everything beautiful in its time.
I pray dear one, that whatever you are facing today you will lean into Him and the beauty that waits just around the corner.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,