Normal is the idea of conforming to a standard; that which is usual, typical or expected.
When I was a kid growing up in San Diego, I would go to school in the morning and early afternoon, then return home about 3 p.m. My parents were still at work, so my brothers and I would find some kind of mischief in which we might be a part. We would normally play ball in the street (baseball, football or kickball) or go out to the open fields that were only two blocks from our house and look for lizards, horny toads or some other wild animal. I remember bringing a handful of frogs home one time to show my mom. She really appreciated that when I revealed the frogs in the kitchen while she was making dinner.
We sometimes would take longer journeys after school to see friends that lived many more blocks away, who lived closer to creeks and trees and adventures of our imaginations. But when we returned home we normally found mom cooking dinner and our home the refuge from the day. It was normal to expect dinner being prepared, our parents at home and the evening routine played out like always. As a child, life was simple, routine and easily understood. My brothers and I never felt unloved, uncared for or unwanted. That was normal.
As an adult, albeit a child-like one, I have been assaulted by the non-normal ebb and flow of life in recent days. Whole families have bunkered in their homes, refusing to venture out for fear of contracting the plague of our time. Instead of standing in line at our favorite movie theater, we sit in line to receive a virus check in hopes of being deemed negative Covid-19. You cannot go to your favorite restaurant like you use to, even if it is still in business, because of the rules put in place for safety. The grocery store has been taken over by bandits wearing masks, searching for delicacies like toilet paper. Most wear masks when they do venture out, knowing their precaution is more about the other’s safety than their own. Nothing is normal!
By the way, I believe that wearing masks or not wearing masks should not be a question of personal rights for the Christian, since it demonstrates a biblical principle of deferring our freedom for the benefit of others. Please wear a mask when you go out and please see Romans 14:13-23 for the idea of deferring our freedom because of the other’s “weakness.”
It doesn’t feel normal to bunker in home, travel only to necessary places or wear a mask when in public. It doesn’t feel normal to watch church on the T.V. and do bible study via Facebook. It doesn’t feel normal to wash our hands forty times a day, disinfect them with sanitizer at every turn or wear gloves, if we know we have touched something, will touch something or might touch something. It doesn’t feel normal to refrain from a handshake, hug or kiss. This doesn’t feel normal, no, not normal at all!
Yet there is normalcy which has never changed and will never change. Our Lord has not forgotten us, left us, nor forsaken us (Hebrews 13:5). He remains “faithful and true” (Revelation 19:11). He maintains His love toward His highest creation in being patient toward us, desiring us to connect with Him in salvation, fellowship and hope (2 Peter 3:9). Our Lord Jesus loves His own to the very end (John 13:1). We have a promise of a future, no matter the current challenge (John 14:1-3). All of this and more is normal.
May God help us see the “normal” in all that seems anything but normal. May His ways be clear to us, so that we might have the innocence of the child who goes home after school and playing all day and knows things will be in their place, like usual, typically, normal, because our God continues to reign in our hearts in the midst of the storm. That should be normal!