By: Scott Morefield
If there’s one thing as certain as death and taxes, it’s that this life is full of TROUBLE. Even Jesus said as much. In between all the uplifting promises everyone likes to focus on, you know, all that stuff about God being in control, caring about sparrows and people too, eternal life to those who believe, coming again and restoring all things – all those mega-cool (and, by the way, I believe – true) concepts preachers talk about that makes us all feel good on Sundays, Jesus tosses in a real downer. In John 16:33, He says, “In this world you will have trouble.”
And so, since the fall of man, ‘trouble’ has been everyone’s second middle name. Murphy’s Law says, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Further, the second law of thermodynamics defines the natural progression of the universe as order to disorder. Consequently: Formerly clean and straightened rooms get dirty and messy. Perfectly combed and styled hair looks flat by the end of the day. Buildings, despite the best efforts of man, decline and eventually go to ruin. People get sick. People grow old. People die. People smell after not taking a shower for a few days (just thought I’d toss that in there – you’re welcome).
Sometimes it’s so easy, too easy, to dwell on the things in our lives that are going wrong. It’s easy to let those things create bitterness in our hearts, drag us down and make life miserable. And yet there are those who, regardless of their circumstances, are truly happy. Why? When the trials and tribulations in our lives inevitably happen (as Jesus said they would), how is it possible to retain an attitude of joy? I believe it has to do directly with the upcoming holiday – Thanksgiving!
When we choose to dwell on, to be thankful for, the things that are going RIGHT, it’s easier to deal with the things that are going wrong. And there’s ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Got a cold? You could have the flu! Got the flu? You could be dead (yeah, the flu is pretty rough)! Did your side just lose an election? Guess what? We still live in the greatest country on earth (at least for now)!
When our oldest daughter was 9 days old she was diagnosed with a case of bacterial meningitis that, barring a series of remarkable, miraculous events, could have easily killed her. After a 3-week stay in the hospital, she lived. Today she is an energetic, loving, mischievous, smart 6-year old girl. Every day, when I look at her, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
This life is but a vapor, a short stay on an earth that is far older than we, a sliver in light of eternity. Those who find happiness choose to live it with a spirit of thankfulness. Are you upset about the circumstances in our lives that develop because the things in our universe always gravitate to a state of chaos? Be thankful that the very fact that things tend toward chaos means there is someone who created order out of that chaos. Are you upset that Jesus promised trouble in this life and in this world? Be thankful for the rest of that verse, “…But take heart! I have overcome the world.”