Acts 14:19-28 (Paul and Barnabas: "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God")
Psalm 145:10-13, 21 (God's dominion endures through all generations)
John 14:27-31 ("Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give it to you")
Hardships. Crosses. Challenges. Call them what you like.
There are days when I become painfully aware of those I've had to carry, and those my loved ones also carry. When these moments come, the term "normal way of life" is all relative.
Just what is "normal", anyway? Is it the nice home in the suburbs with the two-car garage, 3.2 healthy kids who all go to good schools, get above-average grades and are active in some extra-curricular program?
This doesn't describe folks who live in the inner-city neighborhoods; nor those who live in lakefront high-rise condominiums; nor those who live in the "McMansions", ten minutes away from the apartment my family and I call home. For that matter, it doesn't describe us either. "Normal" does not describe any family dealing with catastrophic events, like the recent California wildfires or the Atlantic hurricanes. The term loses meaning if you're connected to someone challenged with a debilitating condition, such as muscular dystrophy, autism, or the whole gamut of geriatric diseases.
Yet these can all be considered under the broad umbrella of "normalcy." And I make this observation strictly out of American life. What's "normal" here can be considered extravagant elsewhere.
Jesus is considered a champion for the poor, yet he basically said that poverty would always be a part of this world.
Having said all this, though, does not excuse me - nor anyone else - from working compassionately, toward bearing some burden of those with the heavier crosses, the more severe challenges.
I was reminded last night that man indeed does not live on bread alone. In fact, some so are allergic to wheat and its byproducts that eating a piece of bread is life-threatening rather than life-sustaining.
And I am reminded once more that miracles are not limited to those blockbuster events recorded in the Bible. Each and every new day is one in itself, with the potential for countless others.
While I'd love a big miracle, I will do my best to acknowledge and rejoice at all the little ones. They are the harbingers of hope.