For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
In the news today we are bombarded with reports of the economy in a recession, the stock market plummeting, people losing their homes in foreclosure, and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the past two years we heard numerous candidates campaign for president until we are now down to two front-runners. No matter who wins the election, we need to pray for that person and support them.
During the Civil War, Christian generals prayed for guidance. People prayed that their side would be victorious. Now we too need to pray for guidance not only for ourselves, but also for our current leaders and our new leaders elected on November 4.
If a person watched the news 24-hours a day they couldn’t help getting depressed and downhearted. Even reading the paper or watching the evening news can bring a person down. However I have to thank the staff of the Sun for covering uplifting stories that really boost a person’s spirit. I look forward to reading other people’s columns and having an opportunity to share my views as well. The next time you see one of these people tell them “thank you” for what they do.
I am often accused of an excessive “Pollyanna” attitude because I choose to look for the positive side of life and find some good even in the bad times. In the state our world is in today that may seem overly simplistic, but is it? I was once told that no matter how bad things got, they could always get worse. It is also like the story of the man who complained that he had no shoes until he saw another man who had no feet.
Allowing myself to get discouraged doesn’t change the situation; it only makes the situation worse. It is true that it is sometimes extremely difficult to find the positive side, but it isn’t impossible. It can be done.
Take the example of the Apostle Paul. If ever there was someone who could be down about his life, Paul was it. In 1 Corinthians 11 he tells about some of the difficulties he experienced in his life. He was in prison numerous times, beaten five times with 39 times each. He was beaten with rods three times, stoned once and left for dead. He told how he was often weary and in pain along with hungry and cold. He even escaped once by being lowered down the city wall in a basket. Finally in verse 30 he states, “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities”.
What about the book of Acts when Paul was arrested and the Roman Captain was afraid he would be torn apart by the mob. Then there was the time when he was shipwrecked and bitten by a poisonous snake (although he suffered no ill effects from this incident). Finally he was a prisoner in Rome chained to two guards all the time and cold. In 2 Timothy 4 he asks that his cloak be brought to him.
In the midst of this he had a positive outlook on the important things of life. One of his most positive and uplifting books in the Bible, Philippians, was written while he was in prison. In Philippians 3:7-9 he tells what he views as most important. Please allow me the liberty of quoting from the New Living Translation. It says, “ I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ”.
Do you know what is most important in your life? Do you allow the economy, the upcoming election, or other factors dictate your outlook on life? Do you try to find the positive things in life or do you dwell on the negative? Having faith in Jesus Christ and focusing on Him allows us to get through the difficulties this world throws at us.