Many of us have what we consider a normal, daily routine. How would you react if your “normal” was shattered by a job termination notice? What if someone you love has had a serious health issue occur? Every child of God will face unexpected changes, interruptions and painful trials that, like it or not, become our new normal. Through it all we can know that Christ is not out to harm us, but instead His plan is to perfect us and strengthen our faith.
Joining Jim to provide insight on this issue was Dr. Les Ollila. Dr. Ollila is founder and director of Building Great Leaders. As a regular conference speaker his ministry provides instruction, encouragement and resources for Christian leaders. He’s a former pastor, staff evangelist, and former president of the former Northland Baptist Bible College. In addition to his Building Great Leaders ministry, he is campus chaplain at Faith Baptist Bible College and is a member of the VCY America Board of Directors. He has courses on the VCY Bible Institute at vcybible.org and is the author of the book, A New Normal.
Some Christians believe that if they just walk in obedience to the Lord and serve Him faithfully, somehow they’ll be exempt from trials and tragedy. Dr. Ollila began by noting that this is not biblically accurate. He explained that if we want to fulfill our purpose to be conformed to Christ, we can’t escape the deep, dark times of life. The good news is that what God doesn’t cause, He will use. That includes the mistakes and misjudgments that we make.
Can we prepare for those times when “normal” is upended? Dr. Ollila noted that there’s no way to practice or prepare for such moments. We just have to remember that God is in control and He’s perfect love. So when those not-so-normal situations arise, God’s grace is there.
In order to develop this topic further, Dr. Ollila communicated some examples from his own life where his “normal” was upset. As he did this he highlighted some very important points for listeners to remember including:
- Acknowledgment vs. denial
- Acceptance and the need to face reality.
- When acceptance turns into bitterness. One example is when someone asks, “If God is loving, why did he allow this negative circumstance to happen?”
- Adapting: Once acceptance is achieved, adapt by creating a new normal and make a ministry out of it.
- Accelerate: Forget that which is past and move forward.
Crosstalk listeners contributed their thoughts to round out the program.
Offer: One copy of A New Normal is available for a donation of $10; 3 copies to the same address for a donation of $24 or 5 copies to the same address for a donation of $35. It’s available at vcyamerica.org or call 1-800-729-9829.