Is Looking at the Bright Side Unrealistic?

Philippians 4:13 | follow the light  I am astounded at how depressing most of the blogs I see are. Why would anybody want to read yet another story of an abused child, a tortured animal, or a different version of rant Y against Politician X? Tragedy may be a common thing, but must we really dwell on it?

But, you may argue, there are plenty of depressing things in all four of your books, and still you think people will buy them–sad stories sell. Maybe so, but like the story of Pandora’s Box, if it doesn’t end with HOPE, why bother?

As much as members of the media sneer at the concept of intelligent design, I have nothing but pity for those who don’t believe that there is anything greater than themselves. Look at a sunset, a mountain range, or the ocean and ask yourself if it is you who is denying reality. The sheer beauty, number and variety of things in our universe should point us to something greater, and I don’t mean an alien race. Things made by humans degenerate. They don’t adapt and become stronger. They are replaced by better inventions, but I don’t see the human version of that happening. I’m still waiting for the apes to start popping into people, too. Darwin’s been gone a long time.

Paul reminded the church at Philippi to keep looking at the bright side, while he was writing from prison chained to a Roman guard. It seems a little crazy to dwell on good and lovely things while one is incarcerated, but let’s think about it. If Paul was busy moping about his condition, the Bible would be missing a few great books, and he still would have died a martyr’s death. Being depressed doesn’t lead to good things, but focusing on what we are blessed with can. The poorest of the poor in America never have to go hungry. There is food everywhere. In fact, obesity is a problem among those living below poverty level in the USA. Hope doesn’t cost a penny, and it can be accessed with a minimum of effort.

People may hurt people, but how we react to the hurt is our choice. What has bitterness and cynicism done for anybody? I still can’t mouth the words, “My husband deserted his family,” without tears coming to my eyes. The hurt is deeper than is logical. I don’t have many good memories of my marriage, which will be legally undone in two weeks. But as much as I hate to cry, tears have their benefit. They’re why women live longer than men, and why we have fewer ulcers. The pain leaks out in rivers instead of being stuffed down inside, and for some reason, God holds those tears. My tears are precious to the God of all creation. Wow.

There is a debate tactic in which the opposition’s side of the argument is fully researched beforehand. Those points are presented and diminished before he has a chance to speak them. So, if there is value in looking at both sides of an issue for something as fleeting as a competition, isn’t there value in exploring the possibility that the order and continuity of all things displays the handiwork of God instead of E.T.? And if there is a Creator-God, just maybe He loves His creation. And if He loves His creation, maybe this life is only a tiny glimpse of the wondrous world that waits for us, a world where those hated tears are banished. And maybe it is worth it to take a look at God’s love letter to us and see that selfishness and murder and all the evil of this world gives us the opportunity to share the hope that we have within us. Why does the world fear love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control so much?  I’ll trade them for self-pity and bitterness any day. So I hope your days are filled with sunshine, laughter and the voices of those you love. I pray that your life is rich in kindness and bereft of pain. I hope the God of all creation lets some of His beauty fill you today, and tomorrow and the day after that. Mostly, I hope that one day I will meet you on the streets of gold.

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