“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed….Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16-18

Summer is waning away. The almost exquisite vacation is in the past. The 600 mile bike ride is completed. Your escape from “normal life, whatever it was, is in the rear view mirror. Now back to what makes up your “normal, which just might be best described by St. Paul in the verses above. Much of life is like this for many of us; an oasis from the storm alleviates for a little while the press of the “normal. A respite is a welcome change from getting up early for work, preparing children for school, cleaning house, washing clothes, paying bills, cooking meals, dealing with the myriad problems of everyday living and its work. For most “normal is not a perpetual vacation. We expend rigorous preparation, pain, sweat, and tears, for a big challenge, a taxing event, which has galvanized our anticipation for days and months, creating anxiety about how we would perform; and then the event is past, and even the exhilaration of accomplishment fades quickly as “normal returns.
This is the challenge of life, it is the God designed test of faith; this is where God intends for you to learn what it means to fix your eyes, not on what is seen, but on the unseen; to live always with eternity in your eyes. It is a most difficult task; in fact, it’s simply and bluntly an impossible task! You cannot do this by yourself. The respite, the break, the oasis, the change of pace is an “un-normal, mostly brief encouragement to get back to the test of “normal life, to the discovery of the mettle of your faith, the formation of your Christian character. Many never get there. Their life continues to be drudgery; never fulfilling, it simply doesn’t satisfy; and life wastes away as the years slip by. As the man of great wisdom, Solomon, recounts for us: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’. Ecclesiastes 12:1
In truth, return to the “normal ought to be a great thrill in returning to pursuing with renewed vigor what God has prepared for you to do with your life; to refresh your calling; to be faced with the challenges of overcoming each and every test of faith which presents itself in your “normal. The oasis, the rigorous challenge of an event, the idyllic vacation, is not your “be all and end all; your life vocation is, your calling by God in life, your being victorious and joyful in the “normal; whether you be wife, husband, mother, father, businessman, laborer, pastor, boss, employee, student, son, daughter, or in preparation to be what God is calling you to be and do with your life; you only get one this side of Jordan.
“Normal makes up the crucible in which you are intended to find joy in your work, fixing your eyes on the unseen, always acknowledging that “your light and momentary troubles are achieving for you an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. If you do not see that, there will be no joy in your “normal. If your eyes of faith can grasp the truth, your “normal will become a creation of joy!

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