There’s an illustration from Rubel Shelly’s Happiness Is… that I want to share with you. Let me tell you a story about two frogs. Their names were Optimist and Pessimist. They somehow managed to get stuck in a farmer’s pail of milk and left overnight. At first they both swam, but Pessimist decided there was no hope and, as my husband says, went “glub, glub, glub.” But Optimist didn’t give up. He kept swimming and swimming. In the morning when the farmer looked in the pail, Optimist was sitting on freshly churned butter.
I have always liked to think of myself as an optimist. Now, sometimes I call it making butter. I think it’s a much happier way to live life. What is going to happen is going to happen, but our perception of the events of our lives has a great deal to do with the attitude we have. Both frogs were in the same situation, but by not giving up one frog made it. Think about Joseph. The poor guy was sold into slavery by his own brothers and put in prison because of his virtue. But God had a plan.
Years later when Joseph was reunited with his family, he could easily have called them good for nothing, ungrateful thugs. However, that isn’t what he did. Instead, in Genesis 50:20, he said, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” In spite of everything that had happened to him, Joseph hadn’t given up. He had made a life in Egypt and apparently still believed in God.
Romans 8:28 includes the same sentiment: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” No matter what we are going through, we can take comfort in knowing that God takes care of His own. That doesn’t mean bad things will never happen to us, because they will. The promise is that when they do, God will use it for some good.
Christians have the ultimate promise. John 14:1-3 says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” The heartache and trouble we will face can’t compare to eternal life with the Father, and we can always have that to look forward to.
So as we go through the day to day, let’s pay attention to what mindset we have. Any situation can be seen in more than one way. If we keep our faith in the forefront, although life still won’t be the proverbial walk in the park, things will be brighter.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23
May the Lord bless and keep you,
Shelly R. Happiness is: A study of the Beatitudes. William C. Johnson; 1976.