By G.P. Avants
Context is a great thing. I love to see how people, places and things happen in time and history. Case in point, in the book of Acts we learn about the church and how it developed. Paul began his missionary work and we got an overview of what it took to see the Gospel reach people of all nations, tongues, and walk of life.
Acts 16 talks about Paul and Silas’ journey into the city of Philippi. They saw the best of times and the worst of times just to show the love of God to people bound in sin. But like the work of God it often takes the low roads, the painful and humble passages to reach the lost. That’s how Paul and Silas ended up beaten, in painful stocks and locked away in a deep, dark dank prison just for sharing their faith. But those low places are where the Lord works best. I hope you know this story. They sung hymns while the prisoners and guard listened. The Lord sent help though an angel, shook the prison with an earthquake and opened their prison doors. Before Paul and Silas took that as their ticket to freedom they noticed that the prison guard was about to kill himself. Every freed prisoner meant his life would be at stake. In that moment the prison guard discovered that these two prisoners were the free ones and he was the one in the chains of sin. From that day on, the man found his freedom in Christ and I am assuming became part of the Phillipian church.
Fast forward to the book of Phillipians in the Bible. This was a letter written by Paul to the believers in that city. The book was all about joy in suffering, hope in hopelessness and love in action. Everyone there knew the stories about those who suffered for their faith. I am sure the prison guard often recounted his salvation from that prison. It was a very visual reminder that all men and women without the Lord are still in a deep dank dark prison of sin, even as they think they walk around freely. So, to find joy in the worst places truly creates a whole new outlook on life. Talk about being able to withstand just about any condition one finds themselves in.
There are people who are very positive and always have something good to say. We call them of course, optimistic folks. You know, the glass is half full. They see the bright side to every situation and rarely say a bad word against others.
Yet, this isn’t always the case. No one can be positive all the time. Now this isn’t playing the pessimist. I am just agreeing that bad things happen. We do need to respond to these things as God intended. There are times when we are realistic and say things as they are. It doesn’t mean that our positives have dipped into the realm of negativism.
So, I propose a new term to describe how the people of God could respond to the world at large with all its problems and joys. It’s an attitude that we can be assured does glorify God. It is the right response for any situation.
Like the Christians in Philippi, they have an attitude of praise. They see whatever God brings into their lives as good and good for them. If it appears bad, know that God has a purpose for it beneath its lethally crusty surface.
We see pain. God sees growth. We see hardship. The Lord sees our need for fellowship. We don’t have to face it alone.I can face an enemy when God says a heart can change if I face them, in love and not hatred. It seems like all that is intended to destroy us, under the Lord’s hand makes us ready for eternity. The reality is this is how things really are. It’s all a change in perspective and attitude not situations.
So I want to call these people “praisamistic” or you could say they have a “prasitive” attitude. They see the glass as a blessing and the water inside as grace. Whatever they are poured out in life they take with gratitude. If it is sweet water they find enjoy. If it is the bitter dregs it’s drunk slowly and thoughtfully. (It might be as thick as cowboy coffee but it has its purpose).
There is something to consider as the world becomes darker and harsh. How much more a single, small light shines brightly in a dark, dark place. May I quote Willy Wonka, who once said of Charlie, a little boy who had so little but did have what did matter: “So, shines a good deed in a dark and weary world.”
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