It seems that everywhere I turn, folks are fatigued, angry, or worn out! And who can blame them. Yesterday, I assisted my granddaughter in attending school from home via the internet. The technologically challenged were frustrating – even for someone who gets the basic premise of logins, applications, and software updates. I found myself ready to give up and resort to complaining rather than struggling through with patience and a spirit of gentleness.
That got me to thinking of the apostle Paul, who managed to find joy in the face of discouraging situations. In his letter to the Philippians he reminds the believers how to find joy in the face of adversity, saying “if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8) Eugene Peterson puts it this way, “fill your minds and meditate on…the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Focus on things that are life giving rather than life limiting can be a challenge. Paul suggests that it is worth the challenge, because in this pursuit, we discover a peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7).
Friends, there is plenty to be discouraged about in our current social and political climate. The one who finds ways to see the goodness of God at work in the everyday circumstances, will be the one who emerges from this season better than when they entered it.
I wonder if happiness is a choice or is it a set of circumstances? I believe Paul thought of it as a state of mind, in fact, the mind of Christ. Let us take on the mind of Christ in this season; focus on the good we can do and the joy we can spread in the midst of a fatigued, angry and hurting world.
See you Sunday!