Monday, June 5, 2000

Philippians 4:12-13 – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

Recently I watched a movie that contained a particular scene that I now am thinking about a great deal. It was not exactly an Emmy-winning performance, nor was it a heart-gripping scene. In fact, the scene, as well as the entire movie, was intended to be humorous. The two main characters had been "killed" by a couple of robots from the future. Through a series of events they had "won" the right to return to life by beating "Death", or the grim reaper, at a number of challenges. To overcome the evil robots that had destroyed them, they would need some help. Accompanied by the grim reaper, they went to heaven to find someone to help them. To enter the gates, they had to answer the question "What is the meaning of life?" With little hesitation one of the characters began to quote the words to a popular 80's rock song:

    Every rose has its thorn.
    Just like every night has its dawn.
    Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song,
    Every rose has its thorn.

The answer was accepted and they were allowed to enter the gates.

At first I thought very little about their reply, and in fact thought it was not a bad answer. But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. I realized what a sad perspective on life this really portrayed: a perspective that obviously was not influenced by the love of Christ.

If we examine the words they used, we see that it was indeed a very pessimistic view of what life is. Each phrase mentions something beautiful and joyful, but ends by negating that same beauty and joy. I realized that this is the way many people walk through this life — always looking on the bad side, or even anticipating something bad to happen. Even Christians are guilty of this from time to time.

This is not to say that we are always to be overjoyous and exuberant in every situation. There are going to be times of sorrow and disappointment, but that should not be our view on life. Instead of looking at a rosebush and wondering why it must have thorns, we should see a thornbush and be thankful that it has roses. Instead of going to bed at night dreading the next morning, we should awake and give God thanks for another day to serve Him.

As Paul tells us in Philippians, there are going to be tough times. But if we know and trust in Christ we also know and have the secret to being content in all situations. We must never forget that we "can do everything through him who gives us strength."

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for the roses. Continue to give us the strength we need to overcome the struggles that we face. Amen.

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About the author:

Chad Janey
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

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