Yesterday countless thousands around Europe woke up to the election result they’d set their hearts on, and thousands more had to accept that democracy doesn’t always deliver the outcome you wish for. If you’re one of the latter, it’s good to remember that life goes on. When things aren’t going our way, we can decide that life is not going to get us down.
We have to make the most of what life gives us, because a trouble-free future is never guaranteed. What’s needed is to recognise the good things we have and to cultivate a grateful heart. In 1979, Ian Dury and the Blockheads reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart, with Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3. Their reasons included, being …
“Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
Going on forty, no electric shocks.
The juice of a carrot, the smile of a parrot
A little drop of claret, anything that rocks.”¹
I wonder what your reasons to be cheerful would be?
Sadly, some people are never satisfied. Here are just three complaints that tourists made to their holiday companies:
- “No one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”
- “The street signs weren’t in English. I don’t understand how anyone can get around.”
- “The beach was too sandy!”
In her book A Closer Walk, Catherine Marshall tells of how she once felt that God was telling her to go a whole day without criticising anyone for anything. At first she noticed that her family didn’t miss her critical comments, but she couldn’t understand what this halt on criticism was accomplishing. But that afternoon, God gave her “a specific, positive vision for this life. … Ideas began to flow in a way I had not experienced in years. My critical nature had not corrected a single one of the multitudinous things I found fault with. What it had done was to stifle my own creativity.”²
Two thousand years ago, there was a traveller called Paul. Many times he faced danger; he also faced times of plenty and times of need. Yet he was able to say:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Jesus, because He gives me strength.”
Like Paul, let’s learn the secret of being content, calling a halt to criticism and being grateful for the good things in life. It may not change the election results, but it just might change your world!
1. Songwriters: CHARLES JEREMY JANKEL, DAVID STANLEY PAYNE, IAN ROBINS DURY, STANLEY PAYNE DAVID © Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
2. A Closer Walk, Catherine Marshall (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1987).