Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When Morning Gilds The Skies"1 (Lyrics)
We spend our lives reacting to things that occur around us and to us. Hopefully our reactions are positive and helpful to others and ourselves.
Sometimes, we feel that the actions of others are unfair to us, and from childhood, we have to make choices, positive or negative, as to our reactions.
A friend recently sent me a quotation that I found helpful: "When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way that you respond to what's happening. That's where your power is."
Even as babies, this fact is true.
When one of my great-grandsons, Tyler, was just over three months old, his parents put him in a Jolly Jumper®, designed to help him learn to take steps.
Initially, as he hung there, he looked forlorn. He might have been wondering what he had done to deserve this punishment — to be hung like that. But then, his foot touched the floor, he began bouncing, and the smiles kept coming.
He could have just hung there feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he reacted positively, and the benefits came for him and his parents watching him.
For Tyler and for each of us, there continue to be daily experiences when our reactions make a big difference to us and those around us.
The Bible records many situations where people have reacted positively in response to circumstances beyond their control.
Luke 5:18-20 – Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." (NLV)
The friends didn't spend time blaming others. Instead, they took positive action that they could control, and their friend was healed.
I live in a building with eight floors and two elevators. Some time ago, one of the elevators was closed down for service. After dinner one Sunday evening, the second elevator suddenly stopped working. Fortunately, an emergency repair was executed within a couple of hours, but you can imagine the distress that the lack of elevators caused.
As expected, there was the occasional resident who was very upset with management for allowing this to happen. But perhaps surprisingly, the vast majority responded in a positive way, sharing extra time with friends, knowing that complaining wouldn't speed up the necessary corrections. One of the most outspoken comments was from a 97-year-old Christian lady who was very cheery about it all. Peggy is always very positive. My hope is that my readers and I will follow the example of Tyler and Peggy when it comes to our reactions.
Prayer: Dear Father, we realize that we can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Help us to be careful in our reactions and to act in love, putting others before our own interests. May we always be positive and do our best to react in ways that demonstrate the love of Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.