OK, I got stuck on this word--NORMAL--yesterday. Mr. Webster defines it as 'conforming to the standard of the common type; usual; regular; natural.'
I love my Jesus-lovin' friend B's definition--''I think normal is what we make or decide it is. Then we are either satisfied with the results or decide we got it all wrong compared to someone else. Therefore there is no normal, well according to my weird mind.''
That got me wondering, 'What does God's Word say about this thing called NORMAL?" I asked my Jesus-lovin'-counselor friend M if she knew. She answered, "I'd think it wouldn't even be in the Bible since NORMAL is not a Biblical concept." (She's such a blond smarty-pants!)
Guess what? M & B are right--it appears there's no such thing as NORMAL in this upside-down Kingdom. I was a little blown away to realize that NORMAL is not even mentioned in the Bible--at least in the three translations I used on biblegateway.com (NIV, NLT, NASB).
So, I searched again using The Message translation. Even Peterson (who sounds a lot more like "us") only mentions NORMAL 4 times, and all 4 mentions are in the context of circumstances returning to NORMAL, not us being NORMAL. I love the following passage from Jeremiah that points to a future NORMAL:
"Pay close attention now: I'm creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I'm creating: I'll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I'll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people: No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish; No more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don't enjoy a full lifetime; One-hundredth birthdays will be considered NORMAL— anything less will seem like a cheat. They'll build houses and move in. They'll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, No more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, For my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won't work and have nothing come of it, they won't have children snatched out from under them. For they themselves are plantings blessed by God, with their children and grandchildren likewise God-blessed. Before they call out, I'll answer. Before they've finished speaking, I'll have heard. Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow, lion and ox eat straw from the same trough, but snakes—they'll get a diet of dirt! Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill anywhere on my Holy Mountain," says God. (Isaiah 65:16-18, The Message)
WOW--that's a NORMAL I can live with!
It seems that, in this upside-down Kingdom, our God-Man-King came to us, lived among us, and died and defeated death for us so that we could be uniquely "ABNORMAL." What a relief!