Reflecting on past blessings gives us reasons to rejoice. Let me urge you who are parents still rearing young children to teach them how to do this by practicing it often. Suppertime is a great opportunity to reflect. It’s an ideal time to look back over the day and to count the blessings.
Rehearsing present trials forces us to swallow our pride. I suggest that we rehearse the present trials we’re going through and allow them appropriately to cut us down to size. Being “leveled” has its benefits.
Reaffirming our commitment to integrity strengthens us with confidence and courage. This is what I love most about Job: even when he is discouraged and disappointed, he is not defeated.
Cynthia and I recently returned from a life-changing tour of the sites made famous by a small group of strong-hearted, straight-thinking men. We know them today as Reformers. They were the leaders of the Great Reformation that swept across Central Europe in the sixteenth century.
Jon Huss of Czechoslovakia, Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon of Germany, Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin of Switzerland, and John Knox of Scotland (to name only a few) were not supermen in stature or strength. Nor were they anywhere near perfect. But they were men of integrity, which included character qualities that kept them faithful. It also resulted in their being unintimidated in the face of opposition that was not only vocal but life-threatening. To borrow from Luther’s now-famous line, each one said, in effect, “Here I stand, I can do no other,” as they refused to weaken or recant. Like Job, they were misunderstood, maligned, falsely accused, and openly insulted by their critics. They represented lonely voices of truth while standing true to their convictions.
While on our tour, I often lingered at a bronze statue or stood in the pulpit where one of them once preached, wondering if, perhaps, they were strengthened to stand alone by the example left by Job in the Scriptures. Long before they lived, he testified, “Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go” (Job 27:5–6).
I also asked myself, “Would I have the courage to do what they did?” Would you?