Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Normalcy Bias

Normal is good enough for most people. No surprises. No sudden impact changes to the world round about them. No deviations.

They are comfortable with the routine and have little tolerance for anything to take place out of the ordinary. They are stuck in a rut which is a grave with both ends busted out.

We have a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign hanging around our neck, and any WAKE UP calls are ignored. That’s what Peter was writing about in II Peter 3:3-4. People were comfortable for things to continue “as they were from the beginning.”

The possibility and probability of the return of Christ was absurd. They had heard He would come back, but it had never happened. Skepticism was the result. In sociology, it is referred to as one disbelieving one’s situation when faced with a grave or even imminent danger or unsettling circumstance. It can best be seen in recent years in what happened when Hurricane Katrina struck with vengeance on New Orleans. They had never seen the dykes break before and never expected it to happen as it did. They assumed that everything would be alright because it had always been before and refused to evacuate. When faced with alternatives, they chose the normal and stayed behind many losing their lives. The normalcy bias took its toll.

In 1945 Admiral Leahy predicted that the atomic bomb would never be detonated. Why? It seemed impossible and had never happened before. But ask Japan, and they will unveil the wreckage and ravage of reality of the bomb that Mr. Leahy said would never happen. Normalcy bias backfired in his face and left a permanent scare on the face of mother earth.

Normalcy is numbing.


  • desensitizes us to disturbing prophecies;
  • makes us indifferent to the need for an intimate relationship with God;
  • apathetic to lack of signs and wonders in the church
  • lethargic to the need for prayer and fasting
  • satisfied with the hum-ho routine of preaching, programs and perfunctory rituals at church

Believers need to break out of the normal and with great excitement and anticipation look forward to the return of our Lord. It will put the spark back in singing, power back in preaching, passion in praying, the WOW back in worship and fervency back in fellowship.

Skepticism will never mute the voice of Scripture. Jesus is coming. It is not a matter of if but when. Believers are destined to rule and reign with Christ. The shadows of night are going to fade in the light of the eternal dawn.

Expect God to break through the normal and routine to do the unusual. I pray that we will be challenged by the words of Phillips Brooks who challenged his Boston audience with these words. “It is time for Boston to get out of the peck measure into the bushel measure.”

Don’t cower before critics and be dismayed by disgruntles. They are normal bias nuisances, but LOOK UP our Redeemer draws nigh. The natural and normal will be swallowed up by the manifestation of the Supernatural. GOD WILL BREAK THE SILENCE WITH THE TRUMPET BLAST AND THE TRIUMPHANT SHOUT OF AN ARCHANGEL and OUR LORD WILL BE STANDING ON THE CIRCLE OF ETERNITY BIDDING US TO COME HOME. (I Thessalonians 4:16)

  • It will happen suddenly. I Corinthians 15:52 describes the event dramatically in these graphic words. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
  • It will happen unexpectedly. Jesus explained how unexpected it would be in Matthew 24:44 in these riveting words. “Therefore be you also ready for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh.”
  • It will be like surreal. It’s unimaginable. It will be like a bad dream for those who are not prepared to meet the Lord, but it will not be a dream. It will be real. His predictions will be validated. His presence will be convincing. His power will be compelling. He’s coming. I know He will because He said so!
  • It will be ultimate Supernatural invading the natural and normal. He came the first time to ultimately be killed as the Savior of the world. He will come the second time to be crowned King of Kings and Lord of lords.

Don’t get caught in the trap of normalcy bias. Apply this simple formula to your life, and you can avoid it and its consequences.

Number 1: LOOK for His coming. Most don’t. It seems bizarre and to far out for them to accept, but the Bible tells us that Jesus is coming back for the ones who are sincerely looking for and expecting Him to return. (Hebrews 9:28, Titus 2:13))

Number 2: LOVE the thought of His coming. The Bible explicitly addresses this issue in II Timothy 4:8. There are those who will literally love the anticipation of His coming back again while others abhor or ignore it. Love means to have passion for, intense emotional excitement and craving. May the anticipation for the coming of Jesus be like fire shut up in our bones that all the normalcy bias pessimism can not put out.

Number 3: And finally, LONG for the return of Jesus. John closes out the Book of Revelation with an expression of His longing. He said, “EVEN SO, COME, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) Amen and Amen!

Refusing To Be Normal!

Pastor Jimmy & Bob

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