Two men looked out of prison bars, one saw mud the other saw stars. A lot of life seems to be mostly how we have been conditioned to look at things. Human nature tends to carry negative experiences with them from the past that sometimes confines us to new and expanding experiences because of what we become accustomed to in our thinking. Sometimes this is referred to as being stuck in rut. And it seems that one struggles to grow outside of the place of old experiences if we never fully let go of those old experiences. It seems to form a magnetic field around us that seems to attract negativity. Human nature is to curse things, nurse things, rehearse things till we are depleted of anything positive to say. So back to the guys behind prison bars. One saw mud the others saw stars. One perhaps saw the mud and the doom and gloom of his situation and thought, “this is it, I am just going to die this way and things are never going to change. My family hates me, I have made so many mistakes, there is no way out. This is so unfair, I will never forgive that person for what they have done and I will never talk to that person again.”
The one with stars saw the hope of his future. The promise of a better tomorrow. I will get through to face a new day. The hope of no matter what happened yesterday, what is happening today or will happen tomorrow, my attitude and response within life and towards God will ultimately determine my life outcomes. The hope of being reconciled with his family, he saw in the stars the possibility of being forgiven and restored and the hope of being free. Or perhaps he just felt the hope of being alive to see and enjoy the stars. The full power of Gods grace and love and power is released to us when we are able to see beyond the adversity, the injustice and the unfairness and to embrace the power of Gods’ ability to give us new perspective, a higher perspective to look up rather than down in life.
He created us strong and able to withstand negative forces and he gave us the ability to adapt to any given situation. Jeremiah 29:11 says; “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The reality is that bad things happen to good people and life does not seem fair. I have met moms who have lost their babies and their grown children, moms who cannot have kids and some who have aborted children. What was relevant in the past may not be relevant for you to deal with your current situation or your future. The challenge is not getting stuck in that rut.
In the rut nothing anyone says or does to help will make a difference to where we are unless we make a better choice and decision to alter our response to our current situation.
God has gotten a bad rap for everything gone wrong in the world and as humans we are constantly drawn to the negatives and someone to blame. It is said that bad news and negative news travels way faster than good news.
It is no wonder that we live in a predominately negative world. There is no “magic solutions” out of the rut except to strive to make conscious new decisions to take you to higher ground.
The bible says in Proverbs 3:4-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.”
Stars represents light and life cast on things lost buried or crushed, mud represents all that bogs us down in life. Life and death are right there at the tip of our tongue on the edge of our thoughts,
Jesus said: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Gods wants an extraordinary life for us and His measure of life is out of the temporal and the ordinary and extends into the eternal and extraordinary and our temporal world can fall apart but eternity is in the hands of God.
In short we can let life circumstances, people and your own thoughts get in the way of discovering an eternal God who when this life is over, you will have an opportunity to spend eternity with or we can embrace who we believe is the creator of all things and ask for a greater understanding and new perspective on L.i.f.e Isaiah 55:6,7 “Higher thoughts pull us higher, lower thoughts pull us lower.”
Rebekah Harding is a member of the Reformation Church congregation.