Eileen and I have dear friends in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Barb has been updating us on the temps via Facebook. We have another friend where we used to live on Chicago’s North Shore, and Bill has been updating us on the frigid weather there as well. Brrrrrr!
What are we to do with circumstances that test us? I don’t have to tell you that sometimes life hands us a whole lot more than an unseasonably cold day, and we have to adjust. We have to live and learn. As a matter of fact, I’ll never forget a mantra which Barb and her husband Wayne used to tell their kids as they were growing up: “Attitude is everything.” (By the way, all three turned out to be great adults.)
Attitude is everything, isn’t it? We all make mistakes, and we all face situations beyond our control which feel like anything other than what we think we signed up for! So the problem is not only in us – it’s beyond us. Not only that, but everyone around us makes mistakes as well. And every person we know is confronting some of the same harsh realities of life on this fallen planet. Nobody’s summer lasts forever. Lots of things make no sense this side of heaven. Life is not always easy, and it’s not always fair.
In reality, that’s a very good thing. If life really were “fair,” we’d all get what we deserve: eternal death and separation from God. But our Lord continues to rain down His grace upon both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), and Christ’s mercies are new every day.
And here’s the thing about attitude. You and I can learn to “be of good cheer” – an instruction of Jesus in John 16:33 – even when we just don’t understand the imperfections of our lives. We can lean in on the comforting testimony of Job: “Though he slay me, yet I will trust him.” Our coldest nights can be warmed by the positive report of Joseph to his betraying brothers: “What you meant for evil, God meant for good!” We can stand strong on the words of the prophet, who surveyed his corrupt and crumbling nation, and yet somehow affirmed: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
So – winter or not – be of good cheer!
In the midst of this last Arctic outburst, a massive pileup of more than seventy cars happened just outside Montreal. Thankfully and amazingly, no one was seriously injured. On-the-scene news accounts from Canada revealed a surprising twist. It seems that even a wreck of that magnitude couldn’t stop some of the stranded drivers from having a little fun. As crews worked for hours to clear the route, the icy road was transformed into a makeshift hockey field!
I suppose hockey players are used to pileups. But, when it comes to making the most of our messes, we could learn something from our neighbors in the Great White North.