“‘Normal’ is just a setting on your dryer.” Patsy Clairmont
Some of us use the phrase “new normal” to describe a place where we have been thrust suddenly after tragic loss ~ a place wildly beyond our control. What does “new normal” mean, anyway? Is it an accurate phrase in your world? It is in mine. I was shocked into numbness, and shattered beyond recognition, after my son’s suicide. I didn’t know bottom from top. There was no way to get around or beyond my tragedy. Does this sound familiar? Have you been pulverized by adversity? The old normal is forever in the past, and a new normal is hopefully, on its way. Maybe that’s not a bad thing . . . particularly if we are able to pause, reflect, and possibly grasp, the spiritual significance within our circumstances. At least it is helping me to do so.
After losing my son, and after much time had passed, I began to contemplate what my future might look like without my firstborn in it. Without a doubt, it would require a new normal. And without a doubt, it would require God to create it. I was forced to look deep within my heart, and I came face to face with a surprising truth: I had never really grasped God’s goodness in my life before. Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I did not understand, personally, how much God loves me. Really loves me! You might say, I was full of assumptions, and most likely took each day for granted. I was too busy for reflection ~ assuming things would always be the same. There was never room for “what if’s” in my thinking. Wouldn’t that be tempting the negative or fate, as some say?
After tragedy struck, and after much time in the trenches of sorrow, I began to realize what I had been missing in my life. As my thirsting heart opened to His Spirit like a dry sponge soaks up moisture, He has helped me understand His love, goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and tender regard for my wellbeing. God, and His overwhelming love for me, had been there all along, and I was too blind to see it. But there’s good news! I am not the exception. God loves and cares for each one of His children, of all ages, with that gigantic heart of His.
Losing my son opened my eyes in another way, too ~ opened them to the invisible, but not so subtle, prowling evil monster, Satan. It was the devil who took the life of my son. Perhaps not all at once but gradually, over the years, by keeping his failures ever before him. For example, I suspect that he reminded him over and over that he was worthless, and reminded him over and over that unless he could be a jock like other guys and get the girls, his life was meaningless.
Time, reflection, and prayer for understanding has helped me put as many of the available puzzle pieces of my son’s life together ~ enough for now. All the “why” questions will have to wait to be answered. Like you, and like Abraham of old, “I am confidently waiting for God to bring [me] to that strong heavenly city whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). And once we have all been gathered to our heavenly home, God will answer all our questions to our satisfaction, and wipe away all our tears (Isaiah 25:8).
“Don’t think of Satan as a harmless cartoon character with a red suit and a pitchfork. He is very clever and powerful, and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God’s plans at every turn ~ including His plans for your life.” Billy Graham, The Journey
“The Enemy will take any small victory he can get. It moves from you did a bad thing to you are bad. After a while it just becomes a cloud we live under, accept as normal.” Ransomed Heart Daily Reading
Has the enemy snuffed out the life of someone you love? I know how painful it is, but really, should we be all that surprised by his evil actions? After all, he is the best in his line of business. On his T-shirt is stamped:
Scripture calls him the “father of lies” (John 8:44). His very first attack against the human race was to lie to Eve and Adam about God, and cast doubt in their minds about God’s character. Satan is a master of disguises, and creates a counterfeit for every truth, which so closely mirrors the genuine article, that an untrained eye will miss the difference. He’s hoping we’ll buy whatever he’s advertising, promoting, or selling. Our first parents had perfect brains, fresh from the Creator’s hand, and they still bought the lie, leaving the blight of sin forever on the human race.
Are there days when you feel like your life is spinning around and around, like clothes in a dryer going nowhere? Perhaps we can grasp and believe this: God misses nothing. He has not left us alone or comfortless or spinning out of control. Jesus, who is the perfect Antidote to Satan’s poison, said these words of hope: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
Life as we know it includes birth and death. God represents life. He is the Life-giver. Satan represents death. He doesn’t care how he achieves this goal, just as long as he makes it happen. Both extremes exist and are at war with each other, and will be until this life comes to an end. Both sides are fighting for our loyalty. Which side do you trust? Is it time to trust God? We know only the past and present. God knows the past, the present, and the future. His eyes look beyond ours to the future, where sin and Satan will be no more. Maybe it’s time to accept His gift of peace. Maybe it’s time to look up in faith and prepare for His soon return.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT