Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is the Glass Half Empty?

The Bible is filled with stories of people whose unfortunate circumstances are miraculously transformed into something good. From Joseph's unjustified stint in prison which led to the saving of Israel from famine, to Jesus' own death and crucifixion which provides us with the chance for eternal life, we can see evidence of God's working in the lives of His people. We have these wonderful examples at our fingertips, yet when it comes to our own lives we either conveniently forget what God's word says, or we choose not to believe it.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." Now, does this sound like the kind of God who will leave us to drown in the unfortunate circumstances of our lives? What about Romans 8:28 where the apostle Paul tells us that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him?" Does this verse assure us that God works some things for our good? Of course not, He works all things out for good, no matter how daunting our situations may seem.

Four years ago I was forced to drop out of school after I became extremely ill. After suffering with neurological symptoms while trying to care for my four children, and searching for a doctor who would take me seriously, I was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had been pursuing a career in nursing at the time that I became ill, but I was unable to continue with nursing because of my physical limitations, and have been forced to follow a completely different path.

You would think that after being diagnosed with a chronic, progressive disease and being forced off of the career path I had chosen I would be justified in calling the glass half empty, but consider this: I had been pursuing nursing not because of any great passion I had for it, but because it seemed like a safe choice economically. In other words, I knew nursing was a secure, flexible job that would provide my family with a generous income. Having lost my ability to perform a traditional full-time job, I am now studying to be a writer, which may not turn out to be as lucrative as nursing, but is something I am passionate about and never had the courage to pursue. After all, what kind of crazy person gets a job that may or may not ever include a paycheck?:) With God's intervention, my battle with a chronic disease has given me the rare chance to pursue my passion. I feel privileged to be following my dream, similar to the way people who get paid to play baseball must feel. :)

At first glance my illness certainly seemed like a glass half empty, but in retrospect I can see some areas where God brought good things out of it. I think the problem we have is that we are able to look back and see the good that comes out of tragedy, but we don't have enough faith to trust in the good things before they happen. Often, all we can see is the illness, or the death, or the financial crisis that is immediately staring us in the face. Without the vision afforded us by God's Word, we cannot see the glimmering light of hope until we have already passed through the darkness.

What we need to do is take a deep breath and grab hold of God's promises for us. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has plans for us, plans to prosper us and to give us a future and a hope. God knows what trial we are going through, and He is beside us every step of the way. If we trust in Him to work all things out for good, we can find peace even in the heat of our fiery trials. For me, today, I plan to look at the glass as half full.


  1. mamastrat37@msn.comMay 14, 2009 at 10:55 PM

    Wonderful insight, Dianna. I have found that God is more than capable of seeing me through anything that life throws at me... and that has been a lot. In 72 years, He has never let me down once, as long as I look to Him for what I need. Like you said, though, it's awfully hard to see the sunlight when we're in the middle of a dark place. Trusting Him does get easier as we make it a matter of habit. Even though the trials don't get easier, after a while it's almost automatic to reach up and look up to Him whenever we hit a rough spot in the road.
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts! :) Marlene (Stratton)

  2. Thanks Marlene. You make a really good point that trusting God needs to become a matter of habit. That is just one of the reasons that a consistent devotional life is so important.