An old, somewhat joyless man was nearing the end of his life. His pastor asked him, “What robbed you of the joy of the Lord throughout your lifetime?” This was his insightful reply:
“THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPENED!”
I think we can all relate to that statement. How frequently we become troubled and allow our happiness to be hijacked by things that never happened. All too often we find ourselves believing the wry adage of Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong . . . will!” We begin to believe that is eternal, immutable truth, rather than the truth of God’s Word: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
The Bible prescribes a 3-part cure for our natural tendency to look for dark linings in every silver cloud. Let’s take a look:
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The cure for fretting is focusing on the Lord. The more we focus on the Lord, the more we will delight in Him; and the more we delight in Him, the less we will fret. Scripture commands us to trust our Lord even when we cannot trace Him.
Let us not become weary in well doing, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not faint.
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
The cure for fainting is to be working in the strength of our Lord, not in our own strength. God has given us everything we need to do everything He has called us to do. That activity begins by acknowledging our dependence upon Him and trusting that He will renew our strength.
Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Someone once said that fear can be described as False Evidence Appearing Real. When we look through our natural eyes, there is a great deal of false evidence that appears real. But when we look through the eyes of faith, we see a God who loves us and is in control of all things. Recall the lovely, encouraging words of our Lord:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
So . . . have you been troubled by any of the “things that never happened” in your life lately? Remember: these things will hijack your happiness and steal your joy. Let me exhort you to Fret Not . . . Faint Not . . . Fear Not!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!