Turn a street’s water off and the water authority facilitates a blessing — people venture out of the sanctuary of their abodes and begin to converse... “Have you got water?” is the common refrain.
Suddenly five people, from five separate households (some unknown to the others), are united in one purpose — to find out what’s gone wrong.
Turning the Negative to a Positive – a Powerful Gospel Truth
Basically anything can be turned toward the truth that God remits love over the entire cosmos. Positives are present in every negative. Besides, most negatives are less important than we make them out to be.
Despite what some fundamentalist-thinking people might think, there’s a lot of overlap between positive psychology and biblical schemas of thought. Truth acknowledged, the basis of all psychology — broadly ‘wisdom’ — is gospel-aligned.
The impromptu neighbourly meeting worked to the purposes of God, maybe beyond the recognition of those there. It was my fly-on-the-wall view that made the observation possible but, again, it was God who impressed this positive on me.
Seeing the Positive – the Providential Blessing of God
We think it’s easy to see the positives when we do.
But this is a revelation of the Lord. It always is. When we see what God’s done for us — even in the mire of tragedy or ill-fortune — the Lord ought to be praised.
But there’s another ‘but’...
It’s not our nature to ascribe to God that level of recognition or thanks. Or if we do we ascribe too much to him — that is, we see that the Lord has done this for us.
For instance, it’s like thinking God’s provided us a parking spot in a busy parking lot, when on another day he doesn’t.
This can lead people to think, on the latter occasion, “God, where are you?” whereas with the former, the person can falsely say, “Gee, God really showed up today!” (God does not ‘show up’ because he’s here always!) Both attributions are more like superstition; to think that God designs things always for us and never against us. That theory is debunked with the process of time.
Thanking God – But Stopping Short of Superstition
Everything we receive is from God — good, bad and indifferent.
This is a simple theology and with it, thanks.
If we thank the Lord for good, why would we not thank him for bad? (Apart from it’s not our human nature to glory in our sufferings!) We perhaps know the theory that there are ‘inconvenient blessings’ in a great number of bad things. Ours is to be truthful about the pain, whilst having a spiritual eye open and peeled for the tinge of blessing that resides with every tormented encounter (accepting that at times we won’t see it).
To stop short of superstition is important, for a superstitious theology is highly unreliable — in sum, a bad faith.
There are inconvenient blessings all around us. Our purpose is to find them and be thankful to God for vision of them.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.