Friday, June 3, 2016
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Several of our team members were driving together to ministry events in a nearby state. We were in two cars, but we stayed in touch by means of walkie-talkies. At a couple of points, one of the men in the car behind me pointed out a hawk that he spotted soaring gracefully over us. We saw several of them, actually, on this trip. Now, when you see a hawk or an eagle, it is kind of always an event for a city boy like me. But as my friend – who was not driving at the time - pointed out one of those hawks, the man who was driving said, "Well, I just saw a dead coyote on the shoulder." As our walkie-talkie conversations went on during that trip, that wasn't the last hawk the one man saw – or the last road kill that the driver saw.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Seeing the Bad, Missing the Good."
I guess whether you see soaring hawks or dead coyotes depends on where you're looking. And some of us have this amazing ability to miss most of the beautiful things going on around us and to only see the ugly things. Some folks see mostly what's right with people and with their situation – others just can't help focusing on what's wrong...the dead coyotes. And it really does depend on where you choose to look – up or down. Because if you're walking through your day close to your Lord, there are always goodnesses to see!
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah knew what it was to see the dead coyotes – until he chose to look up and see those soaring hawks. Both perspectives are evident in our word for today from the Word of God in Lamentations 3, beginning in verse 19. First, the dead coyotes – "I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me." When you focus on your frustrations and your failures, the bad news and the negative feelings, yeah, you're going to be discouraged, you're going to be depressed, your souls going to be downcast within you.
Alright, prepare for the soaring hawks. "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." When you focus on all the evidences of God's love and God's care in your life...when you look for the blessings that He has sown into this day, your load gets lighter and your heaviness turns to hope. Same situation - two different outlooks. You choose.
Could it be that maybe you've allowed too much negativity to blind you to God's blessings that are all around you? You've allowed your frustrations and hurts and stresses to dominate your view. Maybe people can tell because you seem to be kind of cynical, sarcastic, accumulating negatives, or looking for things to criticize. You've allowed yourself to get stuck in a negative rut – and the trip gets to be drudgery when all you're looking at is the dead coyotes.
Maybe it's time to say, "Lord, would you forgive me for letting the negative take over - for missing so many of the beautiful things that You put into every one of my days. I've been looking the wrong direction." Would you help me see the positive? Would You help me see Your new mercies every morning? Would you help me see Your love in action?" Then you can make this a day fill of God sightings – of the good stuff.
Out the same window, you can see the majesty of the soaring hawks or you could see the mess of the dead coyotes. What you choose to focus on is actually going to determine the kind of journey you have.