Saturday, April 14, 2012

An Excerpt -- On Negativity

Another excerpt from one of my books in the works:

“I was sad that I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.” – Chinese Proverb

There are bound to be portions of our life when it seems like absolutely everything goes wrong all at the same time. Problems at home or at work, car accidents, diseases, losing loved ones, pay cuts, affairs, divorce, even natural disasters. (It doesn’t help our mindset much when such things are referred to as ‘acts of God’, either!) Why does God allow bad things to happen? A question for the ages, of course – there are detailed answers, short answers, and entire books on the subject, but the bottom line is, He is God. He has a reason for absolutely everything that happens in your life, in mine, and in everyone else’s on Earth, whether we like it or not.

Perspective can be everything. For instance, I was recently driving my little sister, an avid animal lover, to work with me. We rarely get much time together, so we try to make the most of it when we have a “Sister Day”. Laughing and joking around, but still paying attention to the road and driving safely, I saw a rabbit run out in front of me at exactly the wrong moment, and there wasn’t a thing I could do to change the outcome. Stunned silence pervaded the formerly joy-filled car. I started to cry, so I quickly pulled over. Most of why I was so upset, I realized later, was because my mind was thinking, “Why right now?” What was the purpose? I know animals get hit by cars every day and that eventually with enough roads and enough animals and enough driving time, I’d be the culprit sooner or later. But in the middle of my precious, rare time with my sister, when I hadn’t hit an animal in literally seven years, why right then? Was God cruel? Was He punishing me for something else I’d done? Was I not focusing enough on Him?

After a couple of days of my mind jumping back and forth to the situation, I wondered if maybe God had a real reason. (Duh!) If I hadn’t hit the rabbit, maybe I would have continued with my good time, but what if I were paying less attention to my driving while I was having fun and joking around with my sister? What if, around the next curve at the residential area coming up, a little girl might have run out in front of my car instead? Or I might have lost control going too fast around a corner, or another car might have cut me off and ended all our lives – had I not pulled over to cry because I hit a rabbit.

God does not cause bad things to happen, he simply allows them to happen so that a greater good may be accomplished in the long run. I know this simple story doesn’t compare to the loss of a loved one by a drunk driver, or to a years-long battle with cancer, but the premise behind it is the same. Our timetable is miniscule in comparison to the eternal existence of God. A lifespan to us is less than a fraction of a second to Him. Therefore, we are so shortsighted when we think negatively during the hard times in our life. Negative thinking and acting do not help any situation. They cause us to sink into a depression and pass on the negativity like a virus to everyone with whom we come in contact. This is nowhere near the best way to be an example to others for the Lord.

Have I mentioned yet that the life of a true Christian isn’t always easy? Instead of all this negativity, even though it is sometimes difficult to have a positive, forward outlook, it is extremely helpful. Not only to you and your attitude and ability to cope, but also as an example to your friends, family, and everyone else around you. Whereas negativity usually puts a bubble around you that repels others and breeds more negativity, a positive outlook draws others in and makes them feel warm and comfortable so they want to be around you more often. We should strive to be that sort of influence in the lives of all others at all times. If we can draw more people to us, He can lead more people through us. We can’t let our own negative attitude be a barrier to ourselves or to others.

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