Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17, AKJV
Have you noticed that when you look hard for something, or focus strongly on something, you will usually find it? For instance, if you decide that you'd like to purchase a blue Toyota Camry, whereas you never really noticed it on the road before, you will begin to see it more often than before. Why is that? Is it because there are now more blue Toyota Camry's on the road than before? I'd venture to say that is not the case. You never noticed them before because they were not of much interest to you. Thus, because your focus changed, it became more likely that you would begin to notice them. The more you focus on something, the more you begin to notice it. Likewise, the more you focus on the negative things happening in your life, the more you'll begin to see them. The reverse is also true: the more you focus on the positive in your life, the blessings God has given you, the more you will begin to see them.
The truth is, there are always good and bad things happening, and there always will be, even for us as Christians. The bible alludes to this fact when it says, "for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]." [Matt 5:45]. Just as rain falls on the just and unjust, hardships and trials fall on both the just and unjust alike...they are no respecter of persons. It's not what happens to you in life that molds you, but your response to what happens to you. By making a choice to see the blessings God has placed in your life, even in the midst of trials, you are honoring God and bringing glory to His name. There is always something to be thankful about: Are you in good health? Well then, praise God! Do you have a roof above your head, and a bed to sleep on at night? Then praise God! Do you have food to eat everyday? Then praise God! Do you have a job (no matter how tiring the job is, or how unappreciative your boss seems)? Then thank God! Every good and perfect gift comes from Almighty God...He is not fickle in His love for us! (James 1:17). He wants to constantly amaze you with His goodness, but if you are so tuned into the negative, the problems and difficulties that can constitute a life lived on this earth, how can God do that? I mean, with you constantly bemoaning your bad fortune, and your heart accustomed to complaints, you will never be able to see the blessings God has placed in your life.
The Israelites had this same ailment: a complaining and ungrateful heart, constantly bemoaning their bad fortune...never realizing just how blessed they were. I mean, they had it good: clothes that never wore out, supernatural provision and special food that even the angels of God ate, protection from Almighty God Himself, and so much more. They were grateful, but after a little while, they began to complain. They got weary of being in the wilderness and eating the same old manna. That's what happens when one has an ungrateful heart...nothing seems good enough after a little while. Because of this, the Israelites were unable to make it to their Promise Land. What should have been an 11 day journey took them 40 years, and most of them died in the wilderness. 40 years! What might be keeping you from your promised land? Ponder that for a moment...
It seems like our natural bent as humans is to complain and I too have been guilty of this attitude. I remember a period of time in my life when all I did was complain. I was in a season of waiting and testing, and I was believing God for a major miracle. I was miserable with a capital M! Nothing seemed to be going the way I imagined. My miracle wasn't happening as fast as I wanted it to; "God has abandoned me", I thought, "It's not fair, I mean, I am a good Christian! Why is NOTHING going on the way I want it to go? Why is my life such a mess?"...on and on my tirade continued, as if God owed me anything. I was consumed with how terrible I thought my life was, so focused on the negative, that it was difficult for me to focus on the blessings I had in my life. For in that period, like the Israelites in the wilderness, I had supernatural provision. I had a place to stay rent free, food to eat that I never spent a dollar on, and money in my bank account. In retrospect, I really had it good; I was truly living the blessed life, even in the midst of my trial. But I missed the opportunity to enjoy the journey that I was on...my pity party was in full swing and I seemed to be enjoying it. It wasn't until I set my mind to let go of my preconceived notions on how I thought God should bring about my miracle that I began to experience peace. It wasn't until I made room for God do it in His timing and chose to see the blessings that God had given me even in the midst of the difficulty, that I began to see a change. No, my situation did not change, but my perspective did. I realized how blessed I was! In fact, I felt pampered by God.
This is what God wants us to realize...He wants to pamper us, even in the midst of our trials. Joyce Meyer mentions in a commentary, "we need to learn to enjoy where we are on the way to where we are going. God's timing is perfect and being frustrated will not make him hurry! Enjoy today because right now is all we have.". What a great reminder! If you focus on His everyday blessings, remaining thankful, you will begin to see your life take a turn for the better. You will begin to experience such a peace and confidence in God's ability to accomplish His purposes in your life, for He will keep in perfect peace, those who trust in Him, and all whose thoughts are fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:3) .Your situation might not necessarily change, but hope will begin to rise, and hope in God never disappoints. Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Beloved, learn to focus on the blessings God has given you instead of the problems and difficulties in your life right now. Refusing to focus on your problems doesn't mean you are not facing reality, it just means that you are choosing to close the door to worry and complaint, and open the door to more of God's blessings in your life. Like my Pastor always says, if you complain, you'll remain; but if you praise, you'll be raised" - Joel Osteen. Remember, there is definitely no condemnation...we all tend to complain, but when you find your mind begin to look for things to complain about, remember God's faithfulness and begin to thank God for his blessings upon your life. When you learn to change your perspective and focus on God's blessings, you will change, and as you change, your life will change "for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" Proverbs 23:7. My Hope is that we will learn to be:
Faithful to His calling (I Cor 4:2)
Open to what God wants to do in our lives (Ps119:18)
Confident in God's love for us and ability to see us through (1 John 5:14)
Unflinching in the face of adversity (2 Cor 4:8-9)
Steadfast in the faith (1 Cor 15:58)
Remember, remain thankful, and you'll see your life take a turn for the better! Learn to F.O.C.U.S!
My prayer for you: That God will grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Amen. (from Ephesians 3:16-20)