Friday, January 29, 2010

New Normal

Lately my heart has been warmed by seeing how the world has responded to the needs of the people in Haiti. I have seen former presidents, musicians, medical professionals, Church leaders, movie stars, businesses, and regular people all stand up to extend helping hands. With all the evil and hate to which we humans are capable, it is good to see that we are also capable of compassion.

However, with tragedies such as this I often wonder if this help will be seen through to completion. It seems to me that entities such as governments and charitable organizations are often the ones that tend to stay the longest. However, I am also aware that Operation Nehemiah is a Christian organization that is still rebuilding houses in New Orleans. Most of the time people get accustomed to the reality of the tragedy, and then we go back to our lives as usual.

Psychologists call this the “adaptation-level phenomenon.” We seem to have a natural tendency to get used to a new environment and accept it. This phenomenon is why lottery winners are not generally happier after they win. It also describes how a husband can be able to recover after the loss of his wife. As things get either dire or ecstatic, we tend at some point to get back to a new normal.

Paul wrote two times in 2 Corinthians 4 that him and his fellow missionaries “do not lose heart.” He attributes this to his spirit being renewed by God. Even though it appears that Paul’s work was at a considerable cost to him physically and spiritually, he continued. He kept doing his work until he was killed for it.

So it seems to me that a connection with God may be the only way for humans to hold fast and stay strong in the long haul. When the new normal comes, we must seek God’s strength to overcome our tendency to quit. 

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