So why can’t you be happy about it?, I asked.
“I'm afraid that something will go wrong”, was the answer.
“So you’re letting fear steal your happiness?”, I countered.
“Well not fear, but the reality that things can go wrong”, was the considered reply.
I quickly interjected, “‘Reality’ means ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, so something that could happen in the future, can’t be deemed a reality”.
“Okay, fine; maybe it is fear”, was the eventual deflated admission.
“I know that I can’t let fear steal my joy, so I guess I need to encourage myself to enjoy my present reality and leave the rest to God.”
… and I couldn’t agree more.
Welcome to the front-row, VIP, special edition re-run of a heated conversation with myself (in my head of course) 🙃. If you’re not as comfortable with self-talk as I am, then call it a conversation with the Holy Spirit. Laugh if you want to, but in 1 Samuel 30 the bible says that David encouraged himself in the Lord and I am certain that included some serious self-talk 😊.
I remember hearing in a sermon that the unending complaints from the Israelites about food while in the wilderness was not because of an absence of food, but a fear that one day it will run out and they would starve.
We probably read that account and think how silly the Israelites were and why couldn’t they see how many magnificent things God had been doing for them and through them. There is no judgment here though, because I regularly see similarities between the Israelites in the wilderness and believers today, and I often see my stubborn unbelieving tendencies in them.
God’s goodness, deliverance and provision exist in our lives everyday, yet many of us become fearful and complaining, just like the children of Israel. Fear of a bad outcome has been stealing people’s happiness for centuries. It is the reason why some people never make a step forward into something new or are too afraid to ‘take a risk’ on themselves.
I have gotten better in this area over the years, but it’s clearly not totally gone. I remember an old friend would ask me 'why are you so fixated on things going wrong when there is an equal chance of it going well'. I could never really admit why, so I would hide behind clever responses, but I knew why I was such a glass half empty kind of person at that time.
When you’ve seen your half glass tip over often enough, you begin to feel the parched dehydration caused by disappointment after disappoint. Life and its many trials teach us to be afraid and it does not need to be more than one bad experience either. One broken relationship, one lost relative, one rejection letter and the glass begins to look emptier and emptier.
"Life and its many trials teach us to be afraid and it does not even need to be more than one bad experience either."
My profession grooms us to not necessarily expect the worst outcome, but to advise and prepare in a manner that eliminates or minimises any negative impact to clients. However, my faith teaches me to sour high on the wings of faith in Jesus Christ, and believe that everything will work out; and even if things don’t go as planned, that we will be okay.
What’s stealing your happiness? What worry about a future possibility is stealing the grace, peace and provision in your present reality? You may not have a clue whether something will go well, but what’s your evidence that it will go wrong? Any business guru will tell you that failures are more frequent than successes, but that failures pave the way to success. With enough tenacity and determination, failing will itself strengthen your resolve to succeed.
"You may not have a clue whether something will go well, but what’s your evidence that it will go wrong?"
We see so much hurt and sorrow in the world that we sometimes forget that there is still good around us, that God is still holding everything together with His power and might. It often takes reminders from those around us that His promise that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, is still a present-day promise.
Good outcomes belong to all of us, not just a selected few. His goodness wasn’t restricted to the Israelites, His goodness was displayed on the Cross in His son Jesus Christ giving up His life in love for all of humanity. The good things we expect are because we have a good God, who does great things.
"Good outcomes belong to all of us, not just a selected few."
It takes more energy to harp on the possibility of a bad outcome than it takes to fill your heart with positive expectation (trust me, I know). There is zero value in worry. Instead this is our reminder today, that we get to rest in childlike faith and expectation that we are accepted, loved and that the things we are believing for will be ours.
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