Candlelit dinners are romantic (relatively speaking). With the right musical ambiance, starry eyed gazes, and perfectly timed silence, it paints the picture perfect night smothered in love-sick goodness. However, when the candles seem to make a faithful appearance onto the dinner table (and living room floor- and any sort of floor for that matter), then perhaps the idealistic romantic façade was nothing short of a power cut.
Over the past couple of weeks’ social media has been flooded with a torrent of endless memes, sarcastic remarks and pure frustration over the current (pun-intended) power outages. It seemed that many shared great comfort that the darkness they were experiencing was a common phenomenon experienced by many alike (humanity thrives on shared trial). I, on the other hand, was oblivious to the complaints of my fellow country-men. Studying at a public institution, were power-outages occur as often as the lunar eclipse, makes one to be progressively unmindful of what is happening in the outside world. My personal sentiments failed to fully empathize with what was going on around me. The fluorescent beaming of my light bulb was my norm. That soon, however, changed.
“It will soon become your norm”
I had just finished my first final year module- with just three more to go- and had packed my bags to journey to the “outside world” for a week’s break. It didn’t take long. I too began to sense the sarcastic remarks creeping out of me as the light escaped the bulbs and darkness flooded the rooms. I would often wake up to a five percent phone battery life with little hopes of getting it charged. The power-cuts became irksome. The absence of power became real. There was a particular morning, however, when I woke up and found the fan on. I quickly rummaged myself out of bed and soon saw, with astonishment and confusion, the beaming of the light bulb. I was not sure what to make of this new development. The sun had been up for a couple of hours. Afraid to be overly disappointed, I quickly talked myself into believing that the load shedding would soon occur. It was suddenly lunch time. The pots and pans scraped the hot plates of the electrical stove. Midafternoon. Before I knew it, it was night. The power was still on. I messaged my younger sibling on my fully charged cellphone, relaying my deep seated confusion over the ongoing electricity. We laughed and chuckled. It seemed strange to have the power on all day. As I shuffled to the living room, a different sort of light lit within my mind. How remarkable was it that a few days were enough to brainwash my mind into thinking that power cuts were a norm? Many of us may attest to the impending feeling of “doom” as we anticipate the switching off of the power (and when it does not happen we are greatly surprised). As an old saying goes “if you tell a lie many times, it soon sounds like the truth.” If you are in the darkness long enough, it will soon become your norm.
“We become okay with being just okay”
What is your norm? What is my norm? Norm is often measured by a paradigm or set standard by which all experience and supposed “truth” can be held against. I often think of the eagle that grows amidst chickens or the lion that grows amongst the cats. Ignorant of their identity, they “flourish” in the norm that has been presented before them. The result? A giant living in a stunted body. When God saved the children of Israel from Egypt He introduced the norm which they had longed to see: A God who answers prayer; a God who delivers His people from the evil one; a God who is mighty and fierce. Yet, when shrouded with doubt, they quickly turned to the norm of their slavery, reminiscing their daily garlic and forgetting their daily bread (manna). There are two norms that wrestle with our being: the norm of the world and the norm of God. Many attempts are thrown our way to discard God (if even that were possible) and any sort of ideology of Him from our mind and human experience. Sadly, this often creeps into the Christian walk. We curl up into our little comfortable cocoons, accepting what God does not accept as “normal.” We become okay with our minimal hunger for God. We become okay with our busy schedules that displace our times of prayer. We become okay with the “little” sins in our life. We become okay with being just okay. Yet God is looking for worshippers: worshippers that are hot and not lukewarm; worshippers who will sacrifice the norm of this world in order to be fully immersed in the norm of God. When Jesus Christ came, He introduced a new norm; a norm that had existed before time itself. His desire is for you and I to be baptized, fully drenched and immersed, in God, so much so that when the world sees us, they see abnormal beings (perhaps aliens). And that when He sees you and me, He see children (for I shall be their God and they shall be My people).
So what is your norm? What is your darkness?
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” Romans 12:2
At His Feet…