God’s Unchanging “Normal”
June 23, 2020
Is there anyone else dealing with impatience, especially in light of current events? As I struggle to wait on the Lord for deliverance, God is showing me countless places in His word where He calls us to be patient, to wait and be patient. It’s incredibly hard these days to remain hopeful and optimistic as we watch events unfold in our country and the rest of the world. Sometimes it feels like we will never see an end to all the madness.
In John 5, we see Jesus speaking with an invalid man who had been at the pool of Bethesda for thirty years! He was alone with never anyone to help him. So much time had passed. With his disabilities there appeared to be no hope. But Jesus, through His mercy and grace, commanded the man to get up and walk. As Jesus’ command, the man sprang up and was miraculously healed! This Bible story reminds us that long periods of waiting will come to an end. God will extend His mercy and it only takes one word spoken in His timing, not ours.
I have to admit I am getting tired of hearing about “the new normal.” I’m not sure about you, but I do not like the sound of those words. We don’t have to look too far back to recall when life seemed normal. In God’s word we are told to meditate on the times that His grace and mercy sustained us. We need to remind ourselves and others of God’s provision and goodness even in difficult times that seem anything but normal. We all carry a message of hope within us, and people need to hear about our hope like never before.
I had a particular season in my life that was definitely not in my comfort zone but sadly became my “normal” for many years. Along with it came much hopelessness, but the Lord showed me countless times He not only was watching, but he was right there in the center of it all. No matter how bad things can appear our Heavenly Father extends His grace so we can carry on.
The difficulty arose due to both my parents struggling with Alzheimer’s. First my sweet mama was affected, then a few years later my once strong and healthy father who took care of my mom was diagnosed with the same illness. Together they lived a beautiful long life, and together they weathered a difficult disease. Needless to say, the process was heart-wrenching. Every day was a slow march to the inevitable. If any of you have watched a loved one suffer through this debilitating illness you can relate, I’m sure.
I can now look back at my experience and tell you that at the time, it felt like my world was crumbling. In the midst of the chaos (and believe me, this sickness brings complete chaos), God showed me countless times with His divine intervention that He was always there. There was one time in particular I was sweetly reminded what a gracious, protective and personal God we have.
It was a very hot summer day. At this point my mom was knee-deep in her illness. My father was starting to slip ever so slightly. Unfortunately, weeks prior I had had to make the very difficult decision to keep my dad from driving any longer. It was one of the hardest things I believe I have ever had to do. Removing the one link my dad had to independence broke my heart in two.
On this particular day, I was bringing my parents their meal, but they weren’t sitting on their patio chairs. I wasn’t greeted with my sweet dad smiling at me as I walked through his gate. I knew he had no car keys, so where did they go? The house was empty and as I fearfully began to call my dad’s cell phone, there it rang, sitting on his coffee table.
In those few moments my mind went to every horrible possibility that could have happened to my parents. I jumped in my car, made some calls, and just started frantically driving looking for them. It was at least 100 degrees out, and I thought surely they couldn’t be walking in this heat. I prayed out loud asking for the Holy Spirit to please guide me, and at that moment it was as if my car was being divinely guided. I could have gone in so many different directions, yet somehow I ended up not only on the exact road I needed to be on but at precisely the perfect moment.
About a mile from my parents’ home, I came to a red light. As I was looking every which way, I had a perfect view through some trees to the entrance of a store. Just at the very moment I was waiting for the light to turn green, I saw my mom and dad holding hands, just about to walk into the store. In that moment which seemed to move in slow motion, I witnessed my dad trip and fall to the ground!
When the light turned green, I sped over to their side. With the help of a kind gentleman, I was able to pick my dad up off the ground. His knees were bloody, but much worse was his bruised ego. I will never forget my daddy’s wounded big brown eyes staring at me, filled with fright, dismay and appreciation all at the same time.
Although this experience wasn’t pleasant, the Lord used it to show me His timing is always perfect. Had I left my house that day a moment earlier or later… Had I chosen a different street or direction to go in… Had the light I approached been green rather than red… Had there not been a gap in the tree line with a perfect view of my parents… The timing couldn’t have been coincidental, but straight from a loving and caring Father who never fails us even when life is so uncertain. Even when we see chaos, He sees the end picture. Now my sweet parents have a front row seat to that beautiful and magnificent picture. One day we will too, and how glorious that will be!
For still the vision awaits its appointed time, it hastens to the end. It will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it. It will surely come; it will not delay.
Jesus answered him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
My experience may be on a totally different level than what is happening to you today, or what we are experiencing as a world today, but I believe with all my heart these special moments are not random in my life. I now believe these moments are placed before me so that I can share what an amazing Father we all have. What stories and life experiences has God given you to share? Reach out and tell them, recall them, bring life to them so God can be magnified. However difficult the path may be, He never leaves us. He is always watching. Although confusion, fear, and hopelessness may sadly be a part of our world today, it doesn’t have to be our “normal!” Let us joyfully remind ourselves and others that the Lord is in every detail of it. We may be asking ourselves where is He at this moment, but let us rest assured He is still guiding the universe, our nation and His children. We are not abandoned; we are not left alone to fight on our own.
One day He will align the world to be perfect, and that will be our forever “normal.” We may have that frightened look in our eyes today, just as my daddy did when he was too weak to stand on his own. And just as I reached out my hand to my dad, the Lord lovingly reaches out His hand to help us; all we need to do is take it! Let’s not lose hope. Let’s wait patiently and trust that the best is yet to come.
“The devil wants us to abandon hope–God wants us to abandon hopelessness!”
Delighting in safe pasture,