Expecting “Normality” From God When It Doesn’t Exist

· fun

Not long ago, I read this wonderfully insightful comment in a dreadfully depressing short story on Mediaterrorism. Take it slow and break it apart — “media” as in advertising and TV, and “terrorism” as in threatening to destroy someone’s life. The “hero” concludes the following:

“I see that he is trying to be tactful. I sympathize. It’s the people around me who suffer most. They haven’t gotten used to the crash of bombs. They can’t handle the screams and blood. They still think these things should be considered abnormal. People are very protective of that notion — normality.
From F&SF, “Caspar D. Lufkin, “What are You Going to do?”, by Nick Wolven
“People are very protective of that notion — normality.”
On a day-to-day basis, people get up, thinking about their day, and generally figuring that they’ve got it in hand — sufficiently, at least, that they won’t die or be blown up or whatever. Odd things, unexpected things (like a co-worker stabbing you in the back to the boss or finding a worm in your luncheon salad) do take place, but our intense desire to keep our lives “normal” lead us to find ways to balance out the abnormality: we go to the boss’ secretary and tell a bad story on the co-worker who stabbed her in the back, and the worm in the restaurant becomes a great! water-cooler story about never going to Franco’s ever again!Normality Morticia Addams
Life is back to normal. But the truth is, “normal” doesn’t exist. Oh, a statistician might argue that “normal” is the 80% mid-portion of the results of a study plotted on a Bell curve — but who cares about that! Even having a statistician try to explain something like that to you isn’t normal!
Just before Jesus was crucified, he had a long talk with his followers (the last third of the Gospel of John contain much of that talk, and the crucifixion as well.) He wasn’t precisely trying to comfort his followers, but he wanted to prepare them for what was going to happen.
One of his promises (Oh God — I wish You were more careful with Your “promises”!!!) was this one:
In the world, you will continually have crushing experiences,
but be cheerful about them!!! 😉
Because I have overcome the world!!!
Isn’t that just wonderful? Originally written in Koine Greek, John the apostle used the word translated “tribulation” or “crushing” which is the also the word describing the grapes being “juiced” in a stone roller — a hugely round affair having a circular, trench-like trough for the one ton or more “wheel” to be run around the stone trough — toss the grapes (vines and all) in under the several ton wheel, and as it crushes the grapes, the juices run out through holes in the stone.
 So Jesus says, “Here’s what ‘normal life’ is: as long as you’re in this world, you’re going to have brutally crushing experiences…”
Uhhh… At least he doesn’t stop there, no vision, no hope. He goes on. But what he does NOT say is amazingly ridiculous: He says when we’re being brutally crushed in the normal course of living in this world of darkness and cruelty, don’t worry.
Ahhhh! He’s going to magically save us and deliver us from being brutally crushed every so often. Right?
Not at all. Instead of saying, “But be cheerful, for I will deliver you,” he says, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world!”
Oh, come 0n! I don’t care that Jesus overcame his own crushing experiences in this world — I want to know that I’m going to overcome them. After all — Jesus is past tense but I’m present tense going through the ridiculously cheerful experiences of being ground smaller then hamburger. Getting juiced! Smashed! Brutalized!
But everything chnges when more than just that one verse is read. At the beginning of the chapter (and Jesus’ encouraging little talk), he talks about his folowers becoming one with him; becoming united with him; not just yak yak yak I got some really cool spiritual sounding stuff to lay on you, but every follower of Jesus being made 0ne with him — forever!
That means everything that is His is ours! His Kingdom is our kingdom! His victory over sin, darkness, and death is our victory over sin, darkness, and death!!! His “golden streets” are ours! And most important of all, His eternal, everlasting, never-get-sick, never break down body is the very same as what we’ll receive as soon as llife in this world is over!
How do we become one with Jesus and share in all this? Simply believe He’ll do what He promises. Don’t go to my church; don’t send an offering (unless you really want to !!!); don’t get religious (my God! Above all things don’t get  religious!). Get to know Jesus since (being One with Him) He’ll beliving inside you and you can talk things over with Him…
How to make all this happen? It takes two steps: (1) believe that God exists, and (2) that He’s good, really good, and He’ll gladly reward anyone who trusts Him in this life with everlasting Life.
Now this is the answer to the weird riddle up above — how we’re the ones suffering, but He’s the one Who overcame all the suffering in the world: If you choose to be in Jesus Christ, and He’s overcome the crushing experiences of living in this broken world, the fact that He’s overcome the world mean that you’ve overcome the world — in Him.

This is why it’s Good News. We’ve also overcome the painful and awful troubles of this world that are a natural part of living in this world!

So, what’s “normal” for this world? Bombs, sickness, screams and blood, car accidents, friends dying — this is “normal life”.
But God’s perspective on “normal life” is that we live above it; that instead of being crushed, no matter what happens (and it will!), we’ll come out on top of our troubles and never under them.
Our God is not only a Good God, He’s Grrrrrrrreat!!!


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