What is Normal to God?
Over the past year, in what has been the most abnormal year of our lives, we have heard a lot about what it means to be normal. In many ways, our world was turned upside down March a year ago. Our jobs were not normal. School wasn’t normal. Doing routine errands like getting groceries wasn’t normal. Even the time of the week that is suppose to be one of the most constant things in our lives, dedicated worship service to our God, was not normal. All of these changes were necessary in order to slow down the spread of the virus. Everyone is looking forward to the day when things get “back to normal.” Normal, to us, is not having to wear masks, having one unified worship service, giving everyone we know a handshake or a hug, going to concerts or parties or potlucks, among many other things. All of this talk of normalcy got me asking myself two questions.
What exactly does it mean to be normal?
What is normal in the eyes of God?
To answer the first question, I want you to think about your cell phone. Does it allow you to make calls? Does it allow you to text your friends and family members? Does it allow you to access the internet such as emails, Facebook, games, etc? If you said yes to these three questions, then you would say that your cell phone was working normally. In my own words, a device or an object is working normally if it can do the tasks that it was designed and created to do. You are normal if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.
That leads to my second question. What is normal in the eyes of God, especially when it comes to our relationship with Him? I believe that this question can be answered in the creation account of Genesis 1-3. This passage speaks of the creation of mankind and the tasks and duties assigned to the first man and woman. If we are doing the tasks that God intended for us, then we are “normal.” Let’s make three observations from the creation account with regards to what was and was not normal.
1. Dwelling in the presence of God is normal
Genesis 3.8 says that Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden.” It seems that the presence of God was in this garden paradise with Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were cast out of the garden and from the presence of God. Throughout the Old Testament, God tried to dwell with His people in the tabernacle and the temple. But He could not because of the wickedness and unrighteousness of the people of Israel. At the end of time, we and all God’s people who are righteous look forward to dwelling in the presence of God in the New Jerusalem, just as God intended. (Rev. 21-22) Have you been walking in righteousness over the past year?
2. Following God’s commandments is normal
After the creation of man, God gave them several commands. These included being fruitful and multiplying, having dominion over all the earth, and eating the fruit of any green plant except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve’s entire existence centered around following God’s commandments. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes would agree in Ecc. 12.13 when he says to “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” God’s purpose for us is to follow His commands, therefore, following His commands is “normal.”
3. Sin is not normal
The opposite of following God’s commands is sin, which is not normal. When Adam and Eve were determined to follow their own desires instead of God’s, they were banished from His presence in the garden of Eden. 1 John 3.4 says that sin is lawlessness. It is choosing to stand opposed to God and His intentions for us. God does not desire or intend for us to sin. Fortunately, He has provided a path of redemption that allows us to have our sins washed away through the blood of His Son.
2020 was a difficult year, with many trials and troubles. It was, by every definition, not normal. Think about last year for a moment. Last year, did you righteously walk with God? Did you follow God’s commandments? Did you abstain from sin and immorality? If you answered yes to these questions, then I would argue that you had a “normal” year, at least in the eyes of God.
No matter what trials or troubles come upon us, God should always be our constant. We should always look to walk with him, follow His commandments, and abstain from sin. Despite everything that happened last year, I hope that, at least in the eyes of God, 2020 was just as “normal” a year as any another year for you. I hope and pray that you and I have many more “normal” years to come in service to the Lord.