Faith Perspectives – January 31, 2018
By Rev. John Campbell
United Presbyterian, Oakdale
In last week’s column, we read of living in “the in-between times.” From birth to death we have a life to live, and in living we have to make choices. As we face this new year we can choose how we will respond to things that happen and things that do not.
I recently read a devotional in which the husband described his wife as a very positive person. This impression began in the beginning of their relationship. He later learned that she had lost her mother at an early age and her father had to work away from home for two years. He reported that she often said, “We make choices all the time, and I choose to be positive.”
Of course it is easier to be positive when everything is going well. But what about when things are falling apart or hard circumstances are abounding?
It is still a matter of choice.
Perhaps you have said as I have, “God won’t put more on you than you can handle.” One has pointed out that this can be perceived wrongly. Their point was that God at times does give us more than we can handle in order that we cast ourselves upon God’s mercy.
Even in the event of death of a dear one, the loss of home to fire, or the presence of cancer, we have a choice that we can make. And that choice is to choose to believe that God in his mercy loves us and will sustain us.
This is to be positive not in an empty, dreamy, event-denying sort of way. It is to be positive as the Apostle Paul wrote of God’s promise: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
In other words we admit our weakness, our failure, our disappointment, our heartache, and we claim God’s strength. Our confession is that God is still on the throne, God is still in charge and I will trust in Jesus Christ who lives and reigns for ever more.
The attitude that we can chose to express can be found in the book of Lamentations in the Bible. Here the writer is lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, the city of God. Yet the confession is made: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
The writer continues to make this positive statement in their heart: “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.”
One of my expectations is that there will be good times and there will be hard times, and most of all there will be unexpected events.
We have to be like Job as we move down the road of life: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
If we are praising the Lord in all things, we are trusting our heavenly Father to take care of us.