Even when we don't understand our present circumstances, we can walk in the light. As the song says, "Farther along we'll know all about it. Farther along we'll understand why. Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine. We'll understand it all by and by." That's the whole lesson of the book of Job-Trust Me!
Sunshine in Your Mind
In times of suffering, choose to walk in the light, to "cheer up" and "live in the sunshine." We mind our attitude by minding our thoughts, for as a person thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You" (Isaiah 26:3). Jeremiah faced cruel days, but deliberately turned his thoughts to God's unfailing compassion and great faithfulness. "This I recall to mind," he wrote, "therefore I have hope" (Lamentations 3:21-24).
One of the greatest discoveries of psychology is that it's our thoughts which determine our emotions-not feelings which control thoughts. Suppose you found out a friend was treating you to a 2-week vacation. Would that influence your emotions? Or, you learned a loved one was rushed to the hospital, would that affect your feelings?
Suppose you learned that Jesus Christ is the Light, and that in Him is no darkness. Suppose you wrapped your mind around that. It would bring sunshine into the darkest corners of your world.
John quoted Jesus as saying, "I am the light of the world . . . I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness" (John 9:5, 12:46). John later told us to walk in the light (1 John 1:7). That knowledge in our minds brings hope and joy to our souls.
Sunshine in Your Soul
When our minds dwell on Jesus as the light, heavenly sunshine can pour into our souls. Our joy doesn't depend on the events that surround us, but on the hope that's within us. Our real life is with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). It isn't our external situation, but our internal Savior that determines our attitude in life. "But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head" (Psalm 3:3).
Praise and thanksgiving are not emotions that we fall into, but attitudes we choose to exhibit. Some say praise happens when a certain level of emotional intensity is reached, resulting in an explosion in our spirit. But what do we do when everything's going wrong?
We offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord as an act of obedience. We make a decision amidst difficulty that no matter what happens, we'll praise God and walk in the sunshine. That allows attitudes of peace and joy (we could never have engendered in our own strength) to come to our spirits in response to our obedience.
I've had people who have gone through difficult times say to me, "Pastor, I've never loved God more than I do now. God allowed this to happen, and I don't know why. But there is such peace in trusting Him with the unexplained. I don't understand it, but I sense God's presence in my life more than ever."
When we trust God with the unexplained, sunshine floods our minds, our souls, and our faces, too.
Sunshine on Your Face
The Psalmist said, "They looked to Him and were radiant," (Psalm 34:5). The Bible recommends a sunny countenance. Solomon wrote, "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance," and "A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the sternness of his face is changed" (Proverbs 15:13; Ecclesiastes 8:1).
D. A. Benton talks about the importance of the countenance in communicating confidence and leadership. She says women who smiled in their college yearbook photos went on to live happier lives with happier marriages and fewer personal setbacks than those who didn't.
If you're confused by life, trust God anyway. Read His promises, and remember . . .
Farther along we'll understand why;
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by.
This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's devotional magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.