My friend Austin commented, “Sometimes life is worth living because of the way the sun shines in the leaves on the drive home.” In the year 2010 I relayed to my mentor a litany of the things that had gone wrong with Sarah’s life and times in the year 2000. It made for a good story; there were multiple untimely and unsettling deaths, affairs, divorces, budding addictions, relationship quirks and behavioral drama. Basically it was the worst of times but at the time of my telling my mentor about the year nothing went right, it happened to be the best of times. She listened quietly and then said kindly,
“I’m pretty sure there were some good things that happened that year.” Honestly, that never occurred to me, but no there weren’t. Nothing good at all happened that year, until Jane suggested it might have. There were other things to see around me — beautiful things. The theoretical pier of the year I walked was unsettling and unstable. Maybe I thought I’d better keep my eyes on the slats because the next one could collapse. Meanwhile, up and around the horizon…
Good exists in the worst of times and bad exists in the best on planet earth. God knows that the bad things mess with our minds. They get large and in charge and those poor good things starve for attention, batted away with a “Can’t you see I’m busy obsessing about sad stuff?” Loved ones is in crisis surface grief and worry that can carve a path in our minds as a go-to thought rut we trudge through day and night, night and day.
A fresh problem tends to invite me, myself and I on a road trip with resentment, fear and worry. What changes things is the decision I make to invite God in. Not just stuff about God, but God Himself. He brings tools to mind like helping others (novel idea) to get my mind off myself, like listing what’s true about Him not just enlisting Him to bring what He can to my think tank of negativity. I think of God’s great sense of humor, His ability to handle everything, His promise to take good care of me, His pleasure in our relationship.
The world’s unsettling state and debates is a driver to the meditation that God in fact does rule over the nations even though often it sure doesn’t look that way. (Lately I’m reading in the book of Exodus and if it seems God is helpless over world leaders — including the bad ones — Exodus will blow your mind – in a good way.)
Welcome, “He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” He is good in a world full of badness. At the exact same time it is also full of goodness, if only by the way the sun shines on the leaves on the way home.