Common Vs. Normal


I am a small town family physician, and during a typical Minnesota winter, I was seeing a patient with a cough, runny nose, and sore throat, and I remember that the patient asked me if these symptoms were “normal.”  I hesitated in answering her and then tried to explain that the symptoms she was feeling from the virus was common, but that a virus attacking the cells of her body was not normal.  

We laughed when I said, “I guess that’s why they call it the common cold.”

After that conversation it occurred to me that we, as a society, often confuse common vs normal.  We can easily believe that as behaviors become more commonplace, then they must be normal.

Let me give you another example. I have heard parents describing their children’s teenage years as high drama, moodiness, reckless behavior, and even outright rebellion.  I’ve also heard these same parents justify this as “normal teenage behavior,” and miss the opportunity to address the real heart issues.  

While I sadly agree that this teenage behavior is common, I refuse to believe that it’s normal.  

If we continue to endorse the “it is so common, it must be normal” philosophy then it won’t be surprising when drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, and promiscuity becomes a “normal” part of every child’s upbringing.  

So, what is normal?  

There was only one period in world history when the earth operated in perfect normalcy.  That period of time was found in Genesis chapter 1 & 2. 

God created the whole world and called it good. This was the first perfect and only culture that would demonstrate normal human behavior.  

When sin entered the world this normalcy was lost. We separated ourselves from a loving Father, we became orphans, and selfish pursuits became common culture.  

Everything that happened next wasn’t the “new order”, it was the “out of order.”  You see, Jesus came to not only save us from our sin, but to restore the Father’s original culture.  

Because, anything contrary to the Father’s original heart, is abnormal behavior!  

So remember, there is no “new normal”… only His normal.