by Beverly Ward
March 13, 2022
From Science: Behavioral Science tells us that a focus on the positive improves our mental health. In recent years, we have seen the development of a branch of psychology centered around this idea, Positive Psychology. Other models of mental health, such as CBT, are evolving in the direction of embracing the positive, looking more at a person’s strengths than at their problems. The concept is not to “sugar coat” things, but to be realistically positive; to accept reality but find what is best within it. Thinking that is realistically positive has many benefits including increased confidence, lower stress levels, and better coping.
From Scripture: Our ancient Hebrew brothers and sisters knew this truth of seeing the good within circumstances even when there was great suffering. Both the New Testament and Old Testament are filled with examples of believers enduring the worst of circumstances with eyes to see the positive. The most poignant example of this being Christ Himself. He accepted the horrors of crucifixion with an eye toward the offer of salvation it would bring to all of mankind. While in excruciating agony on the cross, He offered to the thief on His right the best of all news: “truly today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43. God’s promises, and examples in scripture, of bringing good from our trials can bolster us, encourage us, and instruct us in how to find the good in the saddest and most heinous of circumstances.
Action Plan: The next time you run into a challenge, consider where, within the circumstances, you see goodness. For example, in the egregious inhumanities of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, look for the helpers, those acting with compassion and boldness to bring grace, love, and mercy to the people whose lives are being shattered. Look for where God is showing up and showing out: for example, in the aid and prayers of the church as they flow like a river to the victims so desperately in need of relief.
The Lagniappe: (Don’t miss these two videos, they are astounding)
The story of Horatio Spafford and his hymn, It Is Well With My Soul
A jaw-dropping performance of Spafford’s hymn by Wintley Phipps