Let’s stop staring at garbage cans and flies
Something has happened to the thinking of Americans. A debilitating negativism is monopolizing our minds, making us angry, moody and depressed. We’ve never had it so good, but too many ignore these blessings and focus only on the faults of others and the nation.
Upon returning from a trip to Africa, former missionary, Tim Stafford, said he had to question why hope seemed so absent from American life. In his article 𠇏inding Hope In America” he observed: “It was disorienting to leave Africa and return to America where people seem relentlessly bitter and complaining about a government that would be the dream of any African, about an economy that would be the dream of any African, about a justice system that would be the dream of any African, about a medical system that would be the dream of any African.”
Solomon warned that we are what we think (Proverbs 23:7), so our constant complaining places us on a collision course with the future. If we choose to focus continually on everything that’s wrong with our country, we can be sure it will get worse.
Doesn’t anybody have a good word for America?
People who have hope make the future hopeful.
And we have plenty to be hopeful about!
A friend of mine had long been a marathon runner, finding satisfaction in finishing even when he didn’t win, but a few years ago he started a race he couldn’t finish. During a marathon, a car went around a barrier, striking him and causing an injury requiring the amputation of one of his legs. But this dedicated runner and believer kept up his courage by memorizing poetry and Bible verses. Philippians 4:8 became one of his favorite faith builders: “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Imagine what would happen to our homes, our churches and our nation if we all followed this good advice. Gloom and anger would be replaced with faith, hope and love.
Browsing through a file I keep of letters to family members, I ran across the one below:
My Dear Grandchildren:
Not long ago, your grandma and I had lunch at a cozy little restaurant near Lake Michigan. We were seated where we could see boats going back and forth to and from the big lake. What a wonderful view!
I could see the beautiful lake and your beautiful grandma, whom I love.
Then I turned my eyes away from the lake and saw some garbage cans. The cover was off one can and flies were buzzing around; it was not a pretty sight.
Life is full of pretty views and garbage cans. I hope you will always choose to look at beautiful things and people you love instead of garbage cans and flies. This will make many of your problems fly away.