I was driving down a tree lined road the other day, the sun was hidden behind dark rain clouds and even though it was the middle of the day, it was dark and dreary. But there was something in that dreariness that made my heart glad. I think that sometimes we need dreary days just to help us appreciate the sunny days. In spite of the gloom, I noticed the trees, shrubs and grass had varying shades of greens. Maybe the sun wasn’t shining, but was a beautiful day.
The same kind of gloom was in my heart yesterday as I read the latest headlines and thought about the sadness, brokenness and heartache in the world. I tried to offer a prayer to God, but was overwhelmed by the enormity of the world situation. I made a list of all the burdens in my heart and gave them to God, one at a time. In doing that exercise, I realized just how powerless I am to do anything about all the concerns I had in my heart. I also realized that the God of the universe is a big God and one who is aware of each concern we have. As I tore that piece of paper into tiny little squares, I felt the burdens lift and all of a sudden I noticed the beauty around me. It was there all the time, but my vision was clouded because of the cares and concerns I was carrying.
My mom used to sing a little chorus and I never really understood why she sang it until just recently. (Some of us are a little denser than others about realizing that we should look on the sunny side.)
“Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way, if we’ll keep on the sunny side of life.” (The song was written by Ada Blenkhorn in 1899 and I suspect that she was burdened by many things when she wrote the words).
There is a scripture that speaks about the sunny side of life. Philippians 4:8 says “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
It takes an effort of the will to focus on the good things in life and I really don’t think that God wants us to wear rose-colored glasses or blinders and not face our difficulties head on. But just because we go through hard times, we don’t have to stay there, we don’t have to keep reliving our most miserable moments over and over again. We can have bad life experiences, but give the remembrance of them to Jesus, who is able to help us through them. We can then move on expecting something good to happen.
The next time you are caught in a storm, remember that the sun is shining above the clouds and that there is a savior who said He would never leave you nor forsake you. Lean on His strong arms.