Spiritually Speaking: The Bright Side

Although I really don’t believe in luck, people often tell me I’m lucky.

This only seems to be based on trivial things, really. I have been known to win several freebies and giveaways, for instance, and I look at the clock when it is 11:11 quite a bit, which supposedly is a good luck charm.

I don’t know if these kinds of things happen to me any more than normal people, though (I’m pretty sure I’m not normal). Maybe I’m just more aware of or celebrate them with more enthusiasm? I don’t know, it’s debatable.

At any rate, most people probably would say I’ve unluckily stumbled upon a patch of thorns so far this year, and we’ve only completed 4 months.

I may have mentioned this before, but at work we often start off our weekly meetings with what we call Rose and Thorn. Everyone around the table states a positive circumstance in their life currently as well as what they consider a thorn in their side at the moment.

Most of the time it’s fairly easy for me to think of roses, and a little harder to think up thorns. This was still the case when we did it most recently; however, I kind of laughed to myself at some of the accumulated, groan-worthy setbacks I suddenly recalled.

Let’s see…

Making a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

In January, I was rear-ended on the freeway and they’ve yet to collect from the guilty party due to them being uninsured and unwilling to cooperate.

A month ago I found out some tragically rude criminal out in cyberspace decided to file a tax return under my social security number this year, making me a tax-fraud victim–this also means my refund is delayed by about 6 months.

Two weeks ago, I found a drill bit jammed into my truck’s drivers’ side back tire and was told I needed a total replacement.

As Charlie Brown would say, GOOD GRIEF, right?

Still, it could always be worse.

See, I’m a realistic optimist–AKA, I realize life really does suck sometimes, but there’s always a silver lining or a rainbow in the “mist” of the rain (see what I did there?).

So I’m going to be that annoying optimist I was born to be and show you the plus side to all of this.

Case numero uno: There had been a scrape on the back bumper of my Tacoma for a few months because I accidentally closed the garage door when I hadn’t pulled the vehicle in far enough (dumb on my part, big time). When I was rear-ended, though, not only did the repairs include an entirely new chrome bumper, it also meant a new right rear tire (my tires are just about to the point of replacement anyway).

Case number two: Honestly, there’s not much to be excited about when told you’re a victim of tax fraud. But just watch, in 6 months, I’ll probably have need of the exact amount my refund check will come in for. I am also glad to know that at least I caught this before it could have spiraled further into a larger issue. And, to quote my brother, “that person messed with a child of God, so they have another thing coming.” Lolz.

Thirdly, and lastly: The tire that was impaled by the drill bit was the other back tire (drivers’ side) that wasn’t damaged in the accident; it would have needed to be replaced at some point this year anyway. Most importantly, thanks to the pleasant policies of Discount Tire, this only cost me a whopping $27 (for labor). The Lord must know I can’t afford 4 new tires out of pocket all at once, so this is definitely one of His blessings in disguise.

All of the above explains why the passage of Romans 8:28 (KJV) never gets old for me: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

That scripture doesn’t say only good things will happen to God’s people; it only says that things will happen for good, and will unfold themselves and fall into place as He sees fit

However, some people think that when they go through trials God is angry with them.

While it is true that the Lord will chasten and rebuke us (Revelation 3:19) if we get out of step just like earthly parents will do, He is not a cruel, malicious Father.

Like I’ve heard it said before, the presence of hardship is not equal to the absence of God’s Spirit.

In fact, it is in our struggles and conflicts that He is often nearer to us than any other time.

On the boardwalk at Coney Island, New York

I promise I don’t have it all together. I’m learning like the rest of you.

But if I have learned anything, it’s that trials and blessings come and go in cycles. 

That’s just the way life works, luck or no luck, whether you’re on your best behavior or not.

So I have to ask myself this rhetorical question often, what good is it to complain during the times life doesn’t go our way, when it’s only temporary after all?

Take it from the wisest man in history, King Solomon, who knew that life is guaranteed its ups and downs, no matter how well you play your cards or how cautious you try to live.

He said, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV).

I’m sure most of us can say 2016 hasn’t been exactly as we thought it might be, thus far.

Maybe it’s actually been better for you, or worse, or just uneventful when you thought it would be otherwise.

The way I see it, it’s all about perspective.

There is ALWAYS a bright side.

I’m not saying we should walk around fake-happy pretending nothing bothers us and ignoring our problems. That won’t get us anywhere.

We can choose to dwell on the negative and become bitter as we allow trials to overpower the positive aspects of our lives. This is easy to do, especially if there really IS more bad than good happening all at once.

Or, we can choose to find the good, no matter how small, in every situation, in order to keep our spirits sweet and our attitudes tender toward the Lord and His perfect plan for us.

Either way, at the end of every day, it’s a choice. 

What will your choice be today?