Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18
One of the most challenging things for some people to do during these difficult times is to stay positive. Many people are experiencing mental stress that leads to physical or emotional distress because of the negativity that is espoused in the media and throughout our political system during this election year. To be sure, the gloom and doom that have hijacked our society are justified, for the most part. We are in the midst of the most troubling times in America since the Civil war. With a deadly pandemic ravaging the country, an economic recession that is causing financial stress for many Americans and the movement for justice and equity for black and brown people that is causing unrest in many cities.
In today’s text, the prophet Habakkuk practices positive thinking despite the impending devastation of Judea revealed to him by the Lord in a vision. Habakkuk was troubled by his prophetic vision, yet he found the courage to be joyful in God his Savior. He knew that God’s power and majesty were not diminished because of the imminent desolation of his country and people.
I know things are tough and the future is looking grim for most people, however, we have to practice positive thinking so we can overcome the negativity that is all around us. If we allow ourselves to immerse in negative thinking, we will lose hope and not muster the courage to bring about fundamental changes in society. We are not helping ourselves, or our loved ones, or this country when we think negatively.
Negative thinking breathes fear that leads to existential paralysis and a spirit of defeatism. Things will only get better when we dare to envision a more positive outcome. We have to be strong and courageous knowing that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” People with faith should think positively because we know all things will work together to the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It is because of our faith that we dare to believe we can change the world and create a beloved community where people of all races and ethnicities can live in harmony.
Believers have to discipline their thoughts and resist the temptation to view the world from a glass-half-empty perspective. After all, the only change we will see is the change we imagine and believe we can achieve. Things do not happen in a vacuum. We are what we think about!
I am challenging every husband and wife to reject negativity in their marriage and dare to imagine the best marriage they can envision. The unemployed should wake up every morning with a spirit of expectation that their circumstances will turn around. My brothers and sisters struggling with cancer and are tired of chemo/radiation therapy should challenge their minds to think of the day when their cancer will be in remission despite the stage of that cancer.
In John 11:40, Jesus told his disciples, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” That is after he raised Lazarus from the dead after three days in the tomb. Can I tell you that if you believe you can overcome COVID-19, you will! Our positive thinking is a formidable weapon that will also help others. Therefore, when we talk to those who feel defeated we have to remind them of Psalm 34:19, that says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Now, that is a promise to rejoice about!
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for reminding us to cultivate positive thinking amid these challenging times. Please help those that have lost hope and are on the verge of inflicting harm to themselves.