Thursday, January 29, 2015

Positive thinking does not remove the sting of hard times. What does?

A popular approach to dealing with suffering and hard times by the proponents of self-help techniques is the power of positive thinking. Anything can be overcome if we just exert enough will power and think positively. Personal empowerment is ours for the taking if we only follow the right technique, meditate in the proper position or simply imagine the impossible. We are told to look for the silver lining in a very dark cloud. But the fallacy of these approaches is quickly revealed when confronted with such tragedies as 9/11 or the Newtown shootings in 2012. No amount of positive thinking will remove the horror and the sting from the hearts of those involved or those indirectly affected. What positive thinking actually does is force us into some serious rationalizing, those “rational lies” we tell ourselves in the hopes of convincing ourselves that all will be OK.  But in our hearts we grieve, we question, we die a slow emotional and spiritual death.

No, the response to hard times needs to be one based on the truth declared by Job: “though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). In the midst of the anguish of heart, the tears that stream from our eyes, the raw emotions that strip us of feeling, what are we to do?  Trust in the God who knows the full depth of suffering because He experienced it firsthand on the cross. Trust in the One who for the joy set before Him endured suffering we can’t even imagine! Trust in the One who has declared that He will make all things new.  That and that alone will remove the sting of a hard time in the crucible.

It is not thinking positive that makes the real difference in your life—it is thinking positively about God, that is, thinking rightly about God will lead you to live rightly!

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