How the Gospel Speaks Into Our Longing For Normal
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
A facebook memory popped up this week.
It was the day, three years ago, when we had our two month post-transplant visit with her doctor.
We had been out of the hospital for only one month after our eight-month old daughter received her bone marrow transplant. It was a wonderful month of being home with my husband and kids, of learning what it was like to be a family again after living in the hospital for months.
Our month consisted of driving to the city twice every week - with all the kids- for appointments; we were learning how to keep ourselves isolated and healthy during this time as her new immune system was beginning to grow; it was a time of adjusting to our new normal.
The regular use of hand sanitizer became a regular practice, holding back on our kisses, and fervently entertaining her in the stroller so that she wouldn’t crawl around on the dirt - which harbours bacteria and parasites that her body may not be able to handle.
A time of learning careful hygiene, practicing distance and isolating ourselves...sound familiar? We lived it three years ago.
This particular visit, I remember feeling some angst, that deep eagerness for life to be ‘normal’. It was the beginning of summer, I wanted to take the kids to the zoo, to go out for walks to the playground, to the swimming pool. Being cooped up inside a hospital for three months had given me a heavy dose of cabin fever.
I asked our doctor that day, about when we could go out, when we could have people over, when it would be okay to take them all out in public.
He was kind and gentle in his words, but he reminded me, that if we were anywhere else in the world, two months after a bone marrow transplant, we would still be admitted in the hospital.
They were words I needed to hear. They were words that directed my heart towards gratitude.
Did I still want to still be in hospital? Definitely not. I was so grateful for the freedom of home, of being with my husband and children, and of our health. It was a huge milestone to be at home. It may not have felt like it at times, when we were still missing out on things, but this was one step in a good direction.
It was an interesting moment to reflect upon this week, in the middle of our current state of emergency.
I’ve been hearing people struggle with the pandemic, saying “I am SO DONE with Covid!” I’ve been feeling it too. The tasks of wearing all our protective equipment at work, asking the interrogating questions about travel, symptoms and contacts, and trying to follow the arrows at the grocery store, all feel a little old already, and truth be told, it’s tiring.
We just want life to return to normal.
I get it. We’re all tired, anxious and adjusting.
So how does the Gospel teach us in this time of longing?
God is Sovereign
When God spoke and the world was made, He acted in authority and remains in that same authority. “All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16). Although we cannot understand His ways, we can trust that they are higher than ours and that His purposes will stand. His sovereign hand is holding us, leading and guiding us through these very strange times.
As we long for normal, we can trust that God is in this, right here and right now.
We Were Stuck In Our SIn
It wasn’t meant to be this way. As God breathed life into his last, very special creation, He desired relationship and unity. But that unity was fractured. This also means that our desires are not always aligned with His. Our longings can be good, but they can also lead us astray.
We need to take some time to reflect on why it’s so hard right now for us, to tally all the emotions swirling around inside of us, and discover what the angst inside us is really all about; the selfish wants, the prideful sense of control or a rebellious spirit that is tired of submitting.
God Made A Way
Throughout Scripture we see God acting purposefully to redeem His creation. The people He modeled in His image were intended to glorify Him, but they were stuck in a life led by sin.
But God made a way.
Through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, he brought us back into relationship with Him. He took what was stuck, what was broken and what was against Him, and provided a way to unite with Him again.
What has it looked like to step back and reflect on what this season has taught you? God is all about redeeming circumstances, people and creation. How have these changes stirred you?
For some, it has been greater time in prayer and in the Word. Maybe you have become more intentional in your texting loved ones. Perhaps you’ve found a new way to serve the sick and elderly, going out to get their groceries or just checking in on them.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13).
The ways we have learned to glorify God and serve others in this season are an opportunity for us to continue bearing fruit for His kingdom, to live in our redemption and bring others into that same saving grace.
The Longing for That Day
We long for normal to return.
That longing inside has been building up. It is a desperate hope. A fervent desire.
It’s not just for the next phase of reopening. It’s not for our kids’ activities to start again. It’s not even for the NHL to finish their season.
Longing for every believer is for the day which is coming, when all things will be made new again.
“For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor 5:2).
Let this longing for normal be a reminder to us, that our ‘new normal’ here on earth will not take away from, nor add to, what is in store for us in eternity with God the Father.
We are all learning to cope with new realities in different ways. The changes to life have been a lot to navigate the last couple of months. As we eagerly desire for our lives shift back to normal, let’s hold on to the truths of the Gospel, and take notice of where we find ourselves inside it all; recognizing God’s sovereignty, our misplaced longings, the redeeming effects of trying times and directing our deepest longing to the hope we have in Christ.
How have you been longing for normal lately? How can the Gospel encourage you?