‘It’s just not normal is it?’

Now that’s a statement that just asks to be challenged isn’t it? It’s a perspective voiced if someone requests a vegetarian meal instead of a ‘normal’ one. It’s a view expressed if someone asks for a decaffeinated coffee instead of a ‘normal’ one. You know what I mean.

Yet, if the word is a minefield, the Bible seems quite oblivious to this. In fact, you could say it rushes in where angels fear to tread because the Bible takes it as read that being ‘normal’ is what life is all about.

The Bible, quite shamelessly, says it’s ‘normal’ to describe God as being Good (as in Psalm 136 verse 1 – 4). The Bible, quite shamelessly, says it’s ‘normal’ to describe God as being loving forever (as in Psalm 103 verse 1 – 5). The Bible, quite shamelessly, says it’s ‘normal’ to describe God as being our Protector and Provider (as in Psalm 23). The Bible, quite shamelessly, says it’s ‘normal’ to describe God as being our Forgiver (as in Psalm 51 verse 1 – 4). The Bible is quite shameless.

The Bible, quite shamelessly, says when we describe God in this way we do so because these things are normative. That is, these are the basic building blocks we are to use when we think about God. God isn’t to be defined in an abstract way, such as being all powerful, or knowing or present, but instead he is to be described by the way he has been experienced in people’s lives.

This is why the Bible is deeply subversive. It resists the categories we might like to use and instead insists upon its own. It tears up our scripts about God, of who he is, of what he is like, of what he does and instead says ‘Eh voila!’

This is the shameless testimony of the Holy Spirit who takes the Bible and tattoos it deeply upon our hearts, our souls and our minds that God IS Good, his love DOES endure forever, he DOES protect, he DOES provide, he DOES forgive.

You might be thinking ‘It’s just not normal is it?’ but for God it is.

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