We’ve all seen them — those people who smile through the worst storm, encourage others when life kicks them in the teeth, and always respond, “Great,” when asked, “How are you?”
How do they do that? Better yet, how can we stay positive in a negative world? Where can we find hope?
First, let’s clarify one issue. Remaining positive does not mean we never have a bad day or that we never question God. Listen to Job. “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me” (Job 30:20 NIV). He was definitely having a bad day, in fact a string of bad days. We can expect those too.
So, what did Job do during his miserable moments?
Job took his concerns directly to God.
Let’s be honest in our prayers. If we’re angry, tell God. If we’re depressed, say so. It’s okay to express our concern. God already knows. This step frees us of pent-up emotion and creates an open flow of communication. We hear God better when we’re not trying to mask our feelings.
Job waited for God’s answer.
That’s easier said than done. I admit I’m a work in progress when it comes to patience. Yet, as believers we can say with Job, “I will wait for my renewal to come” (Job 14:14 NIV). Whether considering tomorrow or eternity, God has us covered.
Job listened to God’s answer once he received it.
How often do we fail this simple task? Can’t you imagine God saying the same thing to us as to Job in chapter 38 and following? It’s like God’s saying, “Just who do you think you are?” Why do we moan and groan for answers yet ignore them when they come? Like children, we respond with a stubborn “no” and proceed to do things our way. When God gives clear directives, let’s follow with a hearty “yes,” whether we understand the plan or not. Job responds to God in chapter 42, verse 3 (NIV), “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Let’s join that declaration with both words and actions.
Finally, Job embraced God’s love and promises.
When everyone else deserts us, God remains. When everything else fails, God succeeds. When life gets us down, God picks us up. When we lose all hope, God offers hope. When conflict surrounds us, God grants us peace. God walks with or carries us through every difficulty. We may not receive all our answers during this life with its ups and downs, but we can rest securely in the reality that God reigns now and eternally. As a result, we can declare with Job, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2 NIV).
Remembering God’s faithfulness enables us to become one of those people who smiles through the worst storm, encourages others when life kicks us in the teeth, and always responds, “Great,” when asked, “How are you?”