It is so easy to focus on the hard things in life, the problems at home with the kids, difficult times my friends and family are going through, crime, poverty, sickness, the economic and political systems in our country and our world. The list can go on and on. Even in remembering the terrible events of 9-11 can bring a kind of depression. Some people I know are worried about the election, so worried they are calling others names and dividing people around political parties and personalities.
But we aren't the only ones in history to have lived in uncertain times. And the advice Paul gave to the Phillipians is as good today as it was nearly 2000 years ago. In Phillipians 4:8, Paul said, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."
I don't think Paul was telling us to not think about or be concerned about the hard things in life, like a ostrich putting his head in the sand, not preparing for the future. But I think he meant to not dwell on them. How many times have I worried and fretted? How many times have I focused on the difficult behaviors of my children instead of looking at the blessings they truly are? How many times have I worried about finances or illnesses, and forget to look to God as my source of help and comfort? How many times have I put my political views ahead of relationships? How many times have I focused on what I don't have and have neglected to be thankful and generous?
I think if I am honest, I'd have to say too many times. And by doing so, I think I've missed some of the goodness in this life.