Are you an optimist or a pessimist…maybe somewhere in between? My techie boy and I often say, “I’m an optimist that carries an umbrella.” Teehee.
I’d like to think I try to give others the benefit of the doubt, to see the good points in people, in situations. I know in my heart that every storm cloud of life has a silver lining, meaning that my Father is working it out for my good. I don’t really mind the dents and scuffs on my furniture, someday it will tell the story of our family.
However, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes emotions blur my view. Sometimes I don’t remember to look on the bright side, but instead I stare into the stormy horizon. Sometimes, as a planner, I like to have a contingency plan, to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best, my umbrella so to speak. This can be beneficial: “Why, yes, it just so happens that I do have a bandaid.” “A broken zipper? Well, let me see…yup, got a safety pin right here.”
As I was driving one day, I was looking at the flowers on the side of the road. The lupins had faded, but wild roses, daisies, buttercups and other plants I couldn’t identify brightened the roadside with their vibrant colours. Technically speaking, I’m sure, some of these plants would be classified as weeds, at the very least ‘invasive species’. To me, they were reminders that there is beauty even in the pesky things of life. It just depends on your perspective.
In my welcome post, I noted that my path in life has not always been an easy one…indeed, has anyone’s? I also related that God is always good and He has planted joy along the path in lovely bursts of colourful wildflowers, and in the sweet songs of His creation, if only I would open the eyes and ears of my heart. Sometimes I am so busy thinking of the stone in my shoe, how tired I am, how thirsty, praying for the end of the hike that I miss the enjoyment to be had in the journey, in nature and in good company.
Life is often exhausting. Thorny or prickly. Unlovely. Bumpy. When my focus is on me and on my troubles, my perspective is skewed. It’s like walking in a lovely place and continually looking down, missing the beauty entirely. When I shift my focus to my Father, looking up, I see the loveliness that is all around me. I remember that He intends good for me. Each event, good or bad (humanly speaking), is a means to an end. For my pleasure or making me more like Jesus. Even in the difficult days, I have found there is much for which to thank my Father. Family. Friends. Sunshine. Rain. Coffee. Chocolate. Encouragement from His Word. A kind act from one of His dear children that is like a hug from Him. He will not always calm the storm, but He gives me a song in my heart as I wait it out.
I had been thinking of these things for a week or so, and as He so often does, God emphasized my need to keep looking up when we went to visit friends at camp. The message that night was from Psalm 3.
A Psalm of David When He Fled from Absalom His Son. LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah
But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah
David lost perspective of his situation when he focused on himself and on his enemies. When he turned his attention to the Lord, remembering His faithfulness, he was able to rest, to go out in confidence knowing the Lord was with him, that salvation comes from Him.
When I look at the problems in this life, may I not see the weeds the enemy would love me to focus on, but a bouquet of wildflowers that are His precious promises.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28