“Think about the good today.”
These words woke me one morning. They weren’t audible, they came as a thought, but not a thought of my own. They were soft and generous as thoughts from above usually are. After quite the restless night—the result of many restless days—this simple sentence shook me. It wasn’t complex or profound, but revolutionary for sure.
I’d been feeling like I was in a pit for some time. God’s nearness and faithfulness were still certain in my mind, but I began to wonder if He had forgotten about me or set me aside. As a self-proclaimed realist, “looking on the bright side” when things are difficult has always bugged me. I love the part in Romans that says “Abraham…faced the fact that his body was as good as dead…” Facing the facts makes much more sense to me than the power of positive thinking.
But maybe, instead of focusing on the hard circumstances, I was being instructed to focus on the good that was also true—to the rest of that verse in Romans that says, “yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” He faced the facts, but then shifted to a bigger fact–the goodness and power and faithfulness of God. Maybe I had examined the difficult long enough; it was time to examine the good.
Could it be that the deliverance I’d begged for would begin with the renewal of my mind?…with my deliberate choice to follow Him out of the pit?
Sometimes God sheds His oh-so-bright light into our dark places and we sit in awe, but sometimes He shows us His light and asks us to walk to it, leaving the darkness behind.
Sometimes He says, “be still and watch my deliverance,” (Ex. 14:14) and sometimes He says, “get up and come out.” (John 5:8; 11:43) Today was the latter.
Life is hard.
The condition of our world can cause deep sorrow. We’re surrounded by brokenness, both “out there” and “in here.”
I think it was Amy Carmichael who said, “we follow a crucified Savior.” So of course we face the facts
we face the God who is making all things new. We remember that only the dead are resurrected.
I find it interesting that “Delight yourself in the Lord” is a command. We serve a God who commands us to take pleasure in Him! Delighting in the Lord is the response to a clear view of Him–God is delightful; we are told to enjoy Him. As John Piper proclaims, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Don’t seek joy (or satisfaction or pleasure), seek God and find all of the above. If I took my son to the candy store, opened the door and simply said, “go for it!” he would have no trouble finding delight inside. This is what God does for us, “here I am, find your delight in Me.”
All of God’s fullness is made available to us in Jesus Christ, we can either feast, snack, or fast.
If I am not finding delight in the Lord it is either because I haven’t subjected myself to His fullness—maybe because of busyness or disinterest; because I have looked in the wrong places and settled for a lesser-god, one that glitters and shines, but found to be fools gold; because I have so filled my thoughts with self there is no room for Him or anything else; or because I have looked for pleasure in shadows–good things, even religious things, that only point to the reality found in Him.
Think about the good. Let your mind settle on who God is and His heart for you. His goodness, His love, His faithfulness—these are our soul’s delight. It takes practice when those thinking muscles are atrophied, but He gives strength with every command. We still face life’s difficulties, but the difference is our joy is steadily anchored in Him—not because we have masterfully secured our anchor, but because that to which we are anchored is strong and sure.