Our “Normal” Idol

A devotional thought from Bill Rogers

Have you been feeling distanced lately? Not the “distanced” we are encouraged to be practicing. More than just six feet away, but in our hearts miles away. Just like a child when we don’t get our way we pout and want to retreat into a corner.  But what way are we not getting? Maybe it is just me but I want my old “normal” back. We all want this virus to go away and should. We should not be complainant when people are suffering, but a feeling of emotional and spiritual distancing during a trial like this is not the answer.

It really hit me when I saw a tweet by Tim Keller recently.  He tweeted “An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts,If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”. After reading that it hit me that I have not been feeling significant and secure, and this feeling was being manifested in a distanced and frustrated attitude. After a little self-examination I came to a realization that my new idol was the satisfaction, security, and the “normalcy” of life the Lord has blessed me with. Returning to “normal” had become my idol.

Funny how we now define “normal”. We now value and yearn for things we once had taken for granted, discounted, nor gave a second thought to. I want my work to return to “normal” levels. I want my daily schedule to return to “normal” times. I want my social life restored to “normal”. I want my “normal” household back to where we not tip-toeing around others while on conference calls and Zoom meetings. I want a “normal” trip to the store.

That is a lot of “I want”. Since I was not getting what I wanted I was becoming frustrated, pouting, and distanced. I want “normal” back but it should not come with a cost of frustration, pouting, and a distanced heart.

The second letter to Timothy reminds us “difficult times will come”. We should not be surprised that difficult times are upon us. So how should be handling the difficult times?

  • Paul encourages Timothy to be “a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). A good solider adapts to the situations around them. They don’t surrender to the fight but learn to fight in new ways.
  • A good solider does not enter a fight in a pouting or whining manner. After the death of Moses God commanded Joshua “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)”. We should not have fear or frustration during these trials but confidence in God’s plan and provision for us.
  • In times of attack a good solider looks for a good solid refuge and allies. Psalm 46 reminds us that God is with us and he is our stronghold. “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

A former youth pastor I used to help with had a catch phrase he used over and over when talking to the youth about the trials the youth were facing. He would simply say “God’s got this”. God has this pandemic in hand. Yes, it is a difficult time but we are partnered with the Lord of hosts during this fight. So rather than pout and become distanced because we can’t do what we once did we march on, like a good solider!