I'm Fine, Thanks!

October 8, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "What A Friend We Have In Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

"How are you?" "I'm fine, thanks!"

We've all engaged in this social greeting formula — even with complete strangers. I did last week while hiking along the river. I came across two fishermen standing in the water. On noticing me, one greeted me cheerfully, saying, "How're you doing?" Equally cheerfully, I responded, "I'm doing great!" as I continued walking. His exuberant tone had instantly elevated me to loftier heights than merely "okay". In that moment, my personal troubles didn't even enter my mind. In that moment, I felt wonderfully fine. Why? Because I caught a wee dose of cheer — as a passing stranger.

Here's my question: Is it hypocritical to say, "I'm fine", even while experiencing some health troubles? Was I being dishonest?

That reminds me of the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14-22. These folks would have been quite honest in saying, "I'm fine". They felt materially secure, socially approved, religiously enlightened, healthy, and well-fed. They felt exceptionally fine! But in God's eyes they were "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17 NIV) That's not fine — not at all! Obviously, it's possible to feel fine and say, "I'm fine, thanks!" — and be lying!

Then, there's the apostle Paul, who openly shared the agony of his sufferings, yet kept insisting, "I'm fine, thanks!" In truth, Paul wrote that he was exceptionally fine because of a legitimate hope embedded within his being:

2 Corinthians 4:17 – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (NIV)

I realize that my fine feelings that day were influenced by fantastic weather and rejuvenating exercise. Indeed, you and I can both feel fine and be fine because God "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment". (1 Timothy 6:17b NIV). More significantly, Christ's new life within sets us free from worry, fear, hopelessness, condemnation, and other such spiritual pathologies which make us feel (and be) dreadfully un-fine. As God's children, we're divinely mandated to leave all our anxious burdens with our Master. It's for our good. It's how we avoid infecting others with our miseries, and instead, we're free to uplift those who cross our path.

As for me, God alone knows my full condition, and I entrust myself to His transforming work. Meanwhile, the fine mood that I borrowed one day from a fisherman through a simple social greeting did feel invigorating. I daresay that Paul, too, felt invigorated by the fine mood of a fisherman: the Chief Fisherman Himself! Paul caught the joy of the Lord, "the joy given by the Holy Spirit". (1 Thessalonians 1:6b NIV)

In due time, you and I will find ourselves engaged in the familiar social greeting formula. Will we be able to say, "I'm fine, thanks!" not just to be gracious, but because we know that we truly are? It's because we've been caught up into the joy of the Chief Fisherman, now no mere stranger to us.

Prayer: Lord, thanks for those little drops of mercy that fall our way and remind us that, in You, we are truly fine. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Thanks for the encouraging thoughts, Diane.

    Thanks, Diane, for such good inspiration today.

    Thank you, Diane. I will now think differently whenever I reply, “I’m fine!”

    Amen! Thanks for sharing this encouraging devotional with us! Be fine and be blessed! Blessings.

    Thank you for reminding me how fine I really am.
    I look forward to the daily readings.
    Thank you.

    Thanks for recounting this lovely personal interchange that brings your message of grace home today, Diane. Blessings on your work.

    So true, Diane. Despite the situations I am in now. I am fine. Because I rest in the grace of our Lord. What could be more comfortable? Thanks.

    Thank you for this encouraging message. With the world appearing in such chaos, I keep reminding myself that God is still on his throne and has my back! God Bless you for this truthful message and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    Greetings Diane,
    Thanks for another of your very meaningful devotionals. Amazing, the lift we can get from cheerful greetings and even greater joy when we daily “walk” with our loving Lord. Blessings for your special writings.

    Thank you so much for your lovely devotion today. I find if someone asks me “How are you today?” and my answer is “I’m great.” it totally changes the resulting conversation. We are led to talk about uplifting things rather than things that bring us down.
    God is good and God is at work in all circumstances!!!

    Dear Diane,
    How I am blessed by your devotionals. And this is most à propos, as most of us will be in this place today. Just as you wrote, both the question and the answer can be blessings. Often as I walk along, I am surprised by a smile on the face of a passing person, only to realize that I had been smiling, too. Thank you, Lord! These are small, but good ways to be a channel of God’s love.
    May God bless and keep you, both personally and in your ministries.

    Good morning, Diane,
    How’re you doing? I hope you are fine. I hope you feel the joy of your faith today and so you are fine. A great message of something that happens in our lives often and a different way of looking at it.
    I try to greet and smile at people when I am out knowing that Jesus wants me to reach out. It takes some effort on some days, and I am always amazed that most people respond but if I had not said anything, they would not have. I know it comes from fear of rejection which we all harbour inside of us. I am blessed when they reply and, hopefully, they feel blessed because someone acknowledged them.
    I love the scripture you use to emphasize the point you are making to point out we are not lying even if we physically or mentally aren’t fine but we are find with the Lord. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us to look at everyday things and how they reflect our faith. Be well.

    Hi Diane and thank you for dealing with a topic that has always frustrated me. Everyone asks the question “How are you?” but do they really want to know how I really am?? I am often tempted to tell the real truth, the whole truth, and see how fast they back up.
    I find that I now make an honest effort to say something different after saying “Hello”. For example, I might say, “What a fine day it is!”
    Then, recently I read an article which explained that “How are you” is simply a greeting, not a request to know how you really are. OK… then simply leave the greeting at “Hello”.
    Your devotion gives me something different to think about now. Thank you! I shall think differently the next time someone asks me how I am. It is always a pleasure to learn a new lesson from your devotions.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Hi Diane,
    I enjoyed your devotional, but I couldn’t help thinking of the song I grew up listening to. It’s a Scottish tune by Andy Stewart and the only line I remember is “It’s never nae sae good, its nae sae bad!”. I don’t remember the title or the words but it’s basically about greeting people and responding to How are you? I think there is a line in the song, that said “It’s never not so good, it’s not so bad!”

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