It’s human nature to dwell on the negative and overlook the positive. That doesn’t work well when we seek to own and appreciate God’s blessings, however. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
I drive old cars. It’s the nature of old cars to run well most of the time and act up without warning. For the most part, however, the running well periods are common and the acting up ones rare. When I look back over the course of the year however, the rare periods of malfunction consistently come to mind. For example, there was the keenly remembered morning in late January, after failing to turn my headlights off, when the battery failed and the car wouldn’t start. There was also that memorable evening last week when I heard a loud clonk and saw something fly off the back of the car. A hanger strap for the muffler had broken and detached itself. In fact, I can plainly recall just about every malfunction and failure in recent memory. Even though the car ran well 95% of the time, in fact there were moments when it performed beyond expectations for a car with 240,000 miles, a sense of satisfaction doesn’t readily come to mind. I’ve driven the car 95% of the time assuming it would work, and 5% fearing that it wouldn’t.
It’s human nature to dwell on the negative and sometimes overlook the positive things in life. While that might work for owning and appreciating old cars, it’s inadequate when we seek to own and appreciate God’s blessings.
Here’s a story: One morning R.C. Chapman, a devout Christian, was asked how he was feeling. “I’m burdened this morning!” was his reply. But his happy countenance contradicted his words. So the questioner exclaimed in surprise, “Are you really burdened, Mr. Chapman?” “Yes, but it’s a wonderful burden–it’s an overabundance of blessings for which I cannot find enough time or words to express my gratitude!” Seeing the puzzled look on the face of his friend, Chapman added with a smile, “I am referring to Psalm 68:19, which fully describes my condition. In that verse the Father in heaven reminds us that He ‘daily loads us with benefits.’” (Source Unknown.)
Psalm 68:19-20 instructs: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.” Chapman was tuned into something that so few of us really strive to do regularly: To dwell on those great times when everything in our life is running well. It starts when we get out of bed in the morning and really doesn’t diminish even when we park for the night. It’s the 95% good running time I ignore with my old Honda. The expectation is that it will be there and it usually is. I can’t remember the last time that I parked in the garage, turned off the lights, pulled the keys out of the ignition and declared, “Well done you good and faithful Honda. You got me home safely again.” That old car, like our faithful God, daily bears my burdens and I seldom reflect on that, preferring to dwell on the times when something falls off the car or an idiot light comes on. God, like my old Honda, is dependable; in fact he is so much more. Even the bad times in life are attached to the good ones in a way that the blessings always come out on top. Reflecting on the 5% that makes us sad is fine. God doesn’t expect us to ignore life’s trials. He does say, however, that remembering the 95% balance makes the 5% a whole lot less memorable.
We pray. Bad things happen to good people for good reasons when you are at the helm of our lives God. Yet, Lord, we would prefer to skip these whenever possible. Lord, most of the time our lives are running pretty well as we know that your hand is guiding us each step of the way. Forgive us Father when we choose to dwell on the misfortune, giving little or no thought to the countless blessings that preserve our life every day. Remind us to look up in thankfulness at the 95%, keeping us from the habit of always looking down at the 5%. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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