His reply reminded me of the apostle Paul’s advice: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Remarkably, this advice with the bookmark of Philippians 4:4 came from someone who was also a hunted man, and would be executed by the Romans. Paul wasn’t saying we would live trouble-free lives and be happy-happy-happy. Instead, no matter what happens, we’re to keep our focus on Jesus, the crucified, risen, and coming-again Lord. It’s called perspective.
I've learned that God has creative ways of reminding me about perspective. The other morning, after praying about some negative people in my life, I was feeling discouraged. Would they ever let God change their lives? Walking outside, I noticed a freshly-opened rose, sparkling with water drops from the night’s rain. Yes, it had thorns up and down the stem, just as daily life holds its share of pokes and pains. Sourpusses dwell on the thorns. But God continues to remind me to focus on the beauty He offers. This rose was absolutely splendid, so I took this photo and also downloaded it for the “wallpaper” of my computer screen. If that rose brought me such pleasure, how much more it must have pleased God when He created it!
To repeat the counsel of that old Norwegian man, “It’s not good to be a sourpuss. Learn to be happy.” We can opt to fuss about life’s thorns, or choose to behold the gifts of beauty, grace and hope we have in Christ. By the way, the old man’s birthday will include meeting the king of
Norway, for the
third time, when that monarch comes to . It’s unlikely I’ll live to 100, but I’m
confident of meeting the King of Kings in eternity! Seattle
P.S. In an earlier blog (April 24) I included a photo of my second grandson, Zion, born with a cleft lip and palate. Here he is two weeks after his first surgery to close the nose and lip gap. I look at this and say, “Beautiful!” Too bad you can’t hear the baby laughter when I took this photo with his dad. More surgeries are ahead, but we’re focusing on the rose, not the thorns, and thanking God along the way.