Part of my job involves giving tours of Jesus Saves – Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Shelter. I start my tours off with: “Homelessness, poverty, mental illness, addiction, hard times…these things don’t have a favorite flavor they like to pick on.” Last week, I was reminded of that.
I swore to myself that I would never let what I see every day at Lawrence Street Shelter be “normal” for me. Or, that I would never let what I see at work each and every day be “just another day on the job.” Seeing this brokenness in the world isn’t supposed to be normal, is it?
In fact, I swore that if I ever got to that point, I’d hand in my two-week notice and find somewhere else easier to work. However, I was humbled last week when I saw more women, children and new faces in for lunch. In fact, Chef Josh and I agreed, that there were more new faces than “regulars.”
It’s days like this past Sunday that are hard, weighty and make me wonder, “Is this the normal?”
Then I remembered what I say to all the groups that come in to learn more about Denver Rescue Mission: Homelessness. Poverty. Mental illness. Addiction. Hard times. Divorce. Domestic Violence. They do not have a favorite person they like to pick on. These things shouldn’t be our normal.
Our normal and God’s normal are different. When we see abnormal – God sees perfection. When God set out in the process of creation, He did so with the intent that everything would bring Him glory. That it would all be perfect, whole and complete; that all of creation would be a reflection of His character. That was what God intended for ‘normal.’
Instead, last week I saw the opposite. When sin came into the world, these things: mental illness, addiction, poverty, among others became part of our world.
God’s solution to sin’s ‘new normal’ of disease, disobedience, addiction was the sacrifice of His Son. That was abnormal. We are called to be abnormal with Jesus, if we hope to make a dent in the sin of this world.
As I watched new face upon new face pour into the dining hall for lunch I felt something deep in my spirit say, “Josh, I love them.” God was reminding me that in the midst of sin’s “new normal,” He was doing something abnormal. He loved them, regardless of their circumstances. We, too, are called to unconditionally love one another.
If we continue to do what we’re supposed to do, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we too will be abnormal. We too will love unconditionally. We too will lay down everything so that we can break the cycle of normalcy that sin has set as the standard in our world today.
So, as I was humbled today in accepting this as the new normal in the world, I was quickly reminded that Jesus is still here in the midst of it all. It is only through His love and sacrifice that things are restored to what God intended: perfection and wholeness.
Jesus’ love gets us there. All it takes for us is to be okay with being abnormal.
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