We are continually surrounded by bad news. When we turn on the TV, we are confronted with images of angry protests, rioting, looting and destruction. We are systematically provoked to feel bitter, resentful, pessimistic, despondent and discouraged. We face possible imminent death from COVID 19 and there is no end in sight. Immersed in all this, it is a natural human reaction to develop a negative attitude that drives us to further despair.
It does not have to be that way. We can maintain positive mindsets despite highly-negative external events. We should not let them unduly burden us internally. Viktor Frankl confronted torture and odds of survival of less than 5% in Nazi death camps at Auschwitz y Dachau. He wrote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.” His positive attitude helped him survive.
Most importantly, God does not want us to fall into devilish entrapment in negative attitude. He wants us to live a quality life whatever the happenings around us. When we put ourselves in his hands and trust fully in him, it is always possible. The Bible has examples and counseling.
Paul was in chains in a cold dungeon waiting to be executed. Yet he tells us in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” In 4:8 he says, “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”. He concludes with verse 9, “And the God of peace will be with you.”
David went through brutal hardships and trials. He was pursued into the mountains by a jealous Saul. He was captured by the Philistines and had to feign craziness as a ploy to get them to release him. He lived in caves in the desert and hungered and thirsted, yet he wrote beautiful psalms that give us hope and comfort. David was remarkable for the way he maintained a positive attitude and praised God in so many circumstances.
Verses may be found throughout the Bible about confronting great hardships with joy. Psalm 47: 1 tells us, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Romans 15: 13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” James 1:2 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
Do not burden yourself with bad thoughts and bad attitudes no matter what the circumstances. Try to let your attitude be continuously positive and hopeful. Hearken to the Word of God. How much more rewarding life can be when you do. And never forget that the God of peace is always with you.
The Union Church of Guatemala
Leaders & Church Staff
Dr. Ralph Porter
Women's Ministry President