We know that Paul wrote Ephesians 3:20-21 and Philippians 4:4 while a prisoner of Rome. That in neither book did he waste ink and scroll space to regret his circumstances and thus reduce his praise of God.
We know that the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay lost nearly half of their 102 immigrants that first winter, 1620-21. By the time the Mayflower returned to England April, 1621, not a single one of the 50 survivors chose to sail on her. They chose not to blame God that half of them had died over the winter, but to thank God that half of them survived to continue their holy experiment.
Something of their spirit animated English preacher Matthew Henry, whose very fruitful life straddled the 17th and 18th centuries. After being mugged and robbed, he told why he felt grateful to God. First, because he had never had the experience previously. Second, while they robbed him, they didn’t kill him. Third, though they took everything in his purse, it wasn’t much. Fourth, he praised God that he had been the victim, not the perpetrator, of the robbery. Adapted from Jews for Jesus Newsletter, Fall, 2016
Those weren’t the words of a hopeless idealist speaking in wishful Pollyanna tones of “everything is beautiful.” They did express the conviction of a Christian servant who discovered positives even in a negative experience. It’s for sure it’s easy to count our complaints and discount our consolations; but only the latter accents whatever positives exist and minimizes any negatives in a situation.
From the 222 people in Virginia and Plymouth America has grown into a world power. All because they chose to risk everything by starting over! Let us, for a moment, regret that when we were few, we drew near to God; but now that we’re many, we’ve drawn from God to ourselves. For what would America be today if in 1520 and 1607 our founders had begun with the atheism, humanism, egotism and immorality so pervasive everywhere in our country? Would we even have a country? Fini
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