Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling"1 (Lyrics)
In 1948, a friend introduced me to his younger sister. In 1956, I married her. From the time we first met, I was impressed by how positive she was.
I was all the more impressed when I learned that in 1937, living in Trail, British Columbia, Canada, when she was eight and her brother nine, they suddenly lost their mother. They were sent to Victoria, British Columbia, to live with their father's family. Two years later, their father remarried, but since he had to return to work in Trail, they saw their father only once during that two-year period. To stay positive was surely a gift from God.
Throughout our sixty married years, living in nineteen different locations throughout North America and even India, raising three children, ministering to hundreds of teenagers at church over nineteen years, and even having to bury a 41-year-old son in 2005, she remained positive — certainly more than I was able to.
She often said, "We make choices all the time, and I choose to be positive."
This attitude was maintained even in the final suffering days of her life. I will never forget when a nurse, preparing for a procedure, said, "Mrs. Walter, this is going to hurt, but I will be as gentle as I can." She replied, touching the nurse on the arm, "That's okay, dear. I know you are doing your best. Thanks for helping me." That brought the nurse to tears. She normally would be cursed, not thanked for such a procedure.
Was this positive attitude a reflection of the Lord she loved?
In my imagination, I can visualize God the Father saying to Jesus, "You are going to have to go to earth as a baby and then die thirty-three years later in order to save the people that we have created who are making such a mess of the world." I can imagine Jesus responding positively. While we have no such record, we do know what He said just before His death:
Luke 22:42 – Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (NIV 2011)
Jesus commanded us to continue His ministry, and my wife's ministry has continued even after her death late in 2016. The 60-year-old manager of our favourite eating place has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was very upset when our son died from that disease in 2005, and again when our daughter-in-law died similarly in March, 2017. He thought very highly of my wife and missed her also. In trying to ease his distress over his own cancer, I told him about my wife's challenge to choose always to be positive. A few days later, he said that he had had a much better week, since every time he felt discouraged, he remembered Mrs. Walter and her challenge.
With God's help, let us try to be more positive. You may find great help in Paul's words:
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (NIV 2011)
Prayer: Father, help us always to choose to be positive. Help us to follow Your Son's example in always doing Your will. Thank You for Your Spirit's guidance. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.