We met standing in line at the Post Office on a pre-spring, almost balmy, day. I opened the conversation by commenting on how fast the line was moving, somewhat of a minor miracle. “Yes,” he agreed, “there are three working at the counter today and that makes a difference.”
Now that we were off to a positive start, I added a comment about the nice weather, hoping it might lead to talking about the goodness of God. “It’s a beautiful day!” he replied, “but I dread what’s ahead.”
“Why is that?” I asked, just as he reached the front of the line.
“We’re going to pay for this!” he said, turning to answer my question as he headed for the counter to do his mailing.
“I don’t believe that!” I called, probably causing everyone in line behind me and all the postal workers to wonder what prompted my long distance declaration of unbelief.
What about my postal partner’s pessimistic view that sunshine must always be followed by clouds and storms? Does God have us all on a weather tether that demands our being jerked back to cold reality after every pleasant day? Of course not!
Certainly clouds, rain and even storms come along from time to time, but this doesn’t mean they’re paybacks for blessings we’ve received. God is good and loves us!
Not that the goodness of God guarantees we’ll be kept from all storms.
On the contrary, our Lord warned that trouble is a part of life (John 16:33). In other words, storms come to all.
The disciples of Jesus once found themselves in a life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee. Strong winds piled waves high and they were in danger of going down. J.C. Ryle, a nineteenth century writer whose books are still favorites of many, described this panic point in the lives of these men of faith as follows:
“Here are the chosen disciples of the Lord Jesus in great anxiety. Perhaps they had expected Christ’s service would lift them above the reach of earthly trials. Perhaps they had supposed He would always grant them smooth journeys, fine weather, an easy course and freedom from trouble and care. If the disciples thought so, they were much mistaken.”
There was, however, a purpose in this time of peril for those enduring it. The storm and its miraculous end increased the faith of the disciples, enabling them to build the faith of others for the rest of their lives. And there is no evidence that the storm came because they had smooth seas, quiet breezes and sunshine the day before it arrived.
If this is a good day, enjoy it and give thanks. Don’t waste sunny days, thinking they forecast fierce storms in the future.
When John Haggai was twenty-four years old and the pastor of his first church, he suffered a nervous breakdown. In his book, How to Win Over Worry, Haggai charts his way out of personal darkness, writing that one of the keys to finding peace was learning to seize the day. But it’s tough to seize and appreciate today’s good things while thinking God may require payment for them later.
Reject such negative thinking. The blessings God sends today won’t require the sky to fall tomorrow.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org