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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Think On Good Things

I've been in a bit of a down mood for the past few days, maybe because of all the bad weather in my part of the world.  It seems that storm clouds, and being cooped up inside the house, tend to bring out all those thoughts about the things that aren't going well in life.  I've been delaying my next post for that very reason--no one needs to hear me gripe and grumble.

However, last night, as I was turning in for the night, I decided that others, including my readers, might be dealing with frustration or grief or some other thoughts that make them feel sad or grouchy on a rainy day. Perhaps this is something I ought to talk about, after all.

I can't offer a magic formula for improving a bad mood, but one Bible verse did come to mind last night:
Finally, brothers, 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. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
Some medical research indicates that thinking about positive things or beauty can help a person recover more quickly from a loss or a health crisis.  Positive thinking can cause our bodies to release chemicals that help us cope with pain.  I've also read that thinking about something can literally distract the brain from picking up pain signals from an injury--in essence, temporarily lessening our ability to feel pain.

But, putting all science aside, I've got to say that for Christians, there is another, deeper benefit from thinking about "excellent or praiseworthy" things.  We have a relationship with the God of the universe, who is the source of all of those good things (James 1: 17), so when we're thinking about good things, we end up thinking about God.  Our hope is refreshed, because we remember again that there is a good God in control of everything, who is looking out for us, and who wants to hear from us.  It doesn't bother Him at all if we tell Him all about what is bothering us, because God loves us and is our friend and intercessor (Job 16: 19-21).  We aren't alone in our problems, and we have a God who is willing to step in and help us solve them, as well.   If we put our trust in God, He will not disappoint us.

Thinking about good things doesn't just give Christians a temporary rosy-glow outlook--it reminds us of the future we have in Christ.  The pain or grief or just plain aggravation that we are facing today will not last.  Heaven is in our future, so even if our health gets worse or more bad things keep happening, that hope cannot be taken away from us.  Someday very soon, God will give us a final victory over the pain and the sorrow. 

So, today, think about those "excellent and praisworthy" things, and rejoice.  The same God who made those things has also made your future.  Cling to that promise, and feel your hope renewed.