Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise The Lord Ye Heavens Adore Him"1 (Lyrics)
Things have not been going very well in my little town. There has been much dissension over the replacement of a necessary facility. For more than two years, a group of volunteers has put a tremendous amount of planning, fundraising, and money into the project, only to have it stopped one week prior to the sod being turned and the construction beginning.
Tempers are running extremely high. Trust has been broken on a number of levels, and not for the first time. Lies are rampant as those involved seek to cover their tracks. All in all, it is a very negative and nasty situation, a circumstance that is occupying first place in the majority of minds, including mine, in a very cynical way.
Thus, as I was doing my regular morning chores, I was also praying and asking God to show me the best way not only to pray about the situation, but even to think about it, as I was burdened by my own less-than-charitable and black thoughts about the whole issue. For the longest time, I did not hear anything back from the Lord about the matter. But then, when I least expected it, focused on the cleaning task at hand, a Scripture verse quietly walked across my mind. And there it was: the answer that I had been seeking.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, 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)
As I contemplated this beloved verse, which has seen me through many a difficult situation, I felt such a sense of relief and peace. There really was not anything that I could do about what was happening in our town, in regard to the actual project itself. But I could do something about my attitude, which in turn might have some small bearing upon the attitudes of others as well.
Focusing on the facts, which are negative, discouraging, and downright unfair, would not change anything. Doing so would simply continue to drag my spirit down. But if I chose to focus on what was going right in my life, in my town, what was pure and noble and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy, moving through the negative situation would become so much easier. It would also serve to remind me that nothing is impossible with God. After all, He holds the ultimate plan for our little town, and in His time, He will reveal it in all its glory.
So, in closing, I ask this question, whether you are going through an encouraging or a discouraging time: What are your thoughts focused upon today?
Prayer: Father God, we live in a difficult world. Many people are treated unfairly and many people are hurting in ways that we cannot even comprehend. What we read in the papers or hear on the news can be very discouraging. In light of these facts, help us to remember and apply today's wonderful words of Scripture to our minds, that we might maintain focus and attitudes of victory amidst the disappointments and inequality of situations which may come our way. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.