I've become aware in recent weeks of my tendency toward the negative. I can easily have selective focus when it comes to my circumstances; seeing them as dark, ominous clouds...heavy with 'no, never, not you'. I think that's part of the broken world we live in; one of the enemy's favorite, and most effective, weapons is distortion. that's why those negative clouds seem so weighty. but they're really just pushy, the darkness of doubt and discouragement. they literally throw their weight around and shove their way into our subconscious like big bullies, blocking out the sun, taking up unnecessary space in our minds. and all the while, grace waits. just a simple adjustment in perspective, a turning of the lens, brings the light into focus. peace holds it's ground, a strong and steady presence ready to pull us up and out of the negative pit.
listen, I'm not at all suggesting that suffering isn't real and debilitating, it absolutely is. I'm suggesting that perhaps we easily fall into the trap of believing the enemy's lies over God's truth.
i admit that I've often focused on the pit...and i realize THAT'S what inhibits my ability to praise. and it's praise that paves a clear way out. praising God gives us hope, it clears the clouds long enough for us to see that there is a wide, gaping opening above us. a huge and obvious exit! but when my eyes are only focused on the darkness of the pit I'm in, it's that much harder for my eyes to adjust to the light.... if i keep my eyes up, however, the light becomes my view, my focus. the darkness diminishes as i trust the light.
what does that pit have to offer anyway? when you find yourself in a place of discouragement or despair is that where you want to stay? in the movie 'the princess bride', the 'pit of despair' is a place of torturous punishment. i, for one, don't want to stay there. it's not somewhere that breathes life and joy into our hearts and minds. it's the enemy's attempt to slow us down and trip us up. but when we are able to look up, look past our current circumstances, living our lives in gratitude, praising the Father for all he's already done, and all He's sure to do, we can gain ground, make strides upward. where that pit has nothing but darkness to offer, The Lord offers endless benefits! we see them more clearly as we choose to praise Him. not to say we'll never ever encounter another pit, but once you know the way out of one, you'll have a leg up on the rest.
the passage I've chosen to memorize and meditate on for this months STANDard is:
'praise The Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
praise The Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits:
who FORGIVES all your sins
and HEALS all your diseases
who REDEEMS your life from the PIT
and CROWNS you with love and compassion
who SATISFIES your desires with good things
so that your youth is RENEWED like the eagles'