A few days ago I went with my family to a large lake to go “fishing”. We didn’t catch any fish, but I caught some beautiful memories via photography.
Aren’t the blue sky and clouds beautiful, both in reality and in the reflection?
The interesting thing about these reflections is that there can be a lot going on under the surface of the water, but when the water is still and the sun is shining, it reflects such beauty as it “sees”.
I chose to take these beautiful photos to remember the beauty of this day. That doesn’t mean that nothing bad happened. I did not take photos of the water moccasins that were swimming on the surface of the water at more than one time during the day.
It is too easy for us to think on the negative things of life and to let them drag us down. That’s not to say that we should not acknowledge and do what we can to fix problems or be wary of danger. I’m not advocating being an ostrich and hiding our heads in the sand.
But God did not intend for us to sit around and stew over problems, worrying, fretting, dwelling in anxiousness, despairing over negativity instead of bringing it to God in faith that He can and, indeed, wants to and will do something to help.
These things may be in our hearts, but He wants us to be still like the surface of the water in the photo above. He wants us to reflect the beauty of the Son-shine!
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not…” Psalm 37:7
So, what should we do instead?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:4-8 NIV
Science bears out that our first inclination is not to rejoice in difficult times. But the fact that God tells us to do so means that it is possible with His help.
I used to read “The Lord is near” as referring to the soon coming of the Lord.
But the reason that we can rejoice, be gentle, and overcome anxiety in the face of difficulties is because HE IS ACTUALLY NEAR NOW, AS IN, RIGHT HERE WITH US READY AND WILLING TO HELP!
God created humankind to experience the wonders of paradise (think garden of Eden) and be joyful. But when sin entered the world, all those “water moccasins” were unleashed to crisscross the beauty of the lake of our lives.
In our modern era, many people do not want to think about sin, but not addressing the sin problem allows it to breed and multiply.
Jesus Christ died as our sacrificial Lamb to bring forgiveness for our sins and to give us a relationship with Him in which He is our Redeemer, the one who sets us free.
Once He has set us free positionally, we still need to come daily before Him and be still. We need to behold His beauty often. (Psalm 27:4). When we see the “water moccasins”, we need to pray to God about them. We need to confess our own sins daily. We need to pray for those who sin against us.
This takes effort. It doesn’t just accidentally happen. We don’t just wake up every morning with an angelic default. We have to intentionally reset our default to thoughts that are pleasing to God every day. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
“we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 GNT
This is more than just positive thinking. It is positive thinking with a focus on God, who is mighty and willing to save, who is awesome in His love for us, who sees us, who wants to be in close relation with us, who wants to bring us joy and peace!
If you haven’t been doing this, why not start today?
It’s like the inspirational song by Josh Groban that says: “You raise me up so I can stand on mountains, You raise me up to walk on stormy seas…” God wants to do this for you, and He does it better than anyone else! (Link at end of post)
Today I’m thankful that God invites me to be still in His Presence and bring every thought captive to His authority.
I’m thankful that His beauty can be reflected from me to others when I am still before Him.
I’m thankful for the beautiful time at the lake and for the photo memories of the beauty seen there.
Watch for the birds flitting in front of the camera. 🙂
You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban