A kindergarten teacher found an exciting new thing for her Sunday School class. The teacher wrote a song about popcorn, taught it to the children, and had them crouch down on the floor to sing it. At appropriate points in the song, all the children would “pop up.” The teacher soon had them “popping” all over the classroom.
One day, the popcorn song was in full swing, when the teacher noticed one child remained crouching on the floor while the other children “popped” all over the room. “Why can’t you pop like the other children?”
The little child replied, “I’m burning in the bottom of the pan.”
We all have moments, days, seasons of “burning in the bottom of the pan.”
When those situations arise… they are miserable. By the way, I am suspicious of Christians who smile through the obvious pain.
Yet even Jesus reminds his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
Jesus knew that life sometimes stinks. Jesus’ Good Friday was anything but good for him.
The question is not “How do I avoid trouble?” Because you can’t. The question is “How do I move through difficult times?”
I can’t answer that for you, but I can tell you what I have observed in myself and other people.
When difficulties arise we have a choice between RESENTMENT or RESILIENCE.
When we turn to Proverbs 17:22 we see what King Solomon says about the matter. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Let me be clear, this isn’t about “turning a frown upside-down.” This is about the temperament we bring to all of life. Guess what the word “cheerful” can also be translated as? Joyful. Yes, joy. Joy allows resilience. Joy keeps from getting stuck and joy helps us move forward. Without joy, we become stuck and soon resentment creeps in.
I was reminded how important it is to choose joy is this week. My father (who some of you know) had a cornea transplant this week. A few weeks ago, he had a cataract removed from the same eye. In about 5 weeks, the same procedures will occur for his other eye. When I talked to him before and after surgery he was joyful. Seriously. My dad reminds me of the importance of choosing joy and to be wary of resentment. He hasn’t complained about this at all (to me at least). Nor does he complain about the aches and pains of getting older.
I appreciate the attitude my dad brings to living life. I try (and often fail) to be as joyful as my father. I am thankful I have someone to look to that does not live in the land of resentment.
God bless you all,