(September 4, 2021) Maureen McQuillan reflects…
It was Francis Bacon, who served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England, who said, ‘Knowledge is power.’
Never underestimate the power of experience. Most importantly, never underestimate that key word in trusting God and living the Christ-life – attitude! Not only is attitude a key word in our Christianity, but it’s also a major one. And why you ask? Well, let me explain by linking attitude with experience, the knowledge of what we’ve learned.
Admittedly certain experiences aren’t pleasant… yet we still learn from them. In fact many times experiences are incidents that have taught us something from which we learn and gain life values. Such as the ‘hard lesson-teaching experience’ I had some years ago when…
Oh, let me quickly give you the background, We had just moved into a new home and I decided to save us some expenses by doing some painting. As quite a few of you know, as well as ministering, I’m also a designer/decorator and I had decided to save finance by painting the inside doors myself – all 22 of them! So, Robert’s study first and, paint and brush in hand, up the ladder I go and begin painting. But, twenty or so minutes later… Crash!
Foolishly I had walked backwards off the wrong side of the ladder!
Trying to stop paint spilling down the walls and window, I flew through the air striking the ladder as I went and hitting the hard wooden floor with a bone-jarring thud!
More than being physically stunned I was jarred spiritually. After all, I always commit each new day to God expecting his protection, and that morning I’d had included this prayer: ‘Please, Lord, you’ve got to help me get all this work done while Robert’s out or it’s going to be too much for me.’
But what happens? I experience a really bad fall and am black and blue all over! Every breath hurts; my right leg and especially my ankle are badly swollen. My ribs feel like they’re broken.
Overall result? I’m in agony, knowing I’ll be out of action for some weeks!
It’s funny but it seems that for years friends have reckoned that nothing ever happens, goes wrong, to Robert and me! But in reality, we’re both very human! And now, in my humanity, it would have been so easy to be displaying a wrong human attitude, angry at God, at myself, and at Robert for not being around.
I’m so glad I didn’t! Attitude is like when you’ve have a flat tyre… you won’t get anywhere until you change it!
Slumped on the floor, I reflected on the situation… and as I did so, I saw the Lord’s hand of grace and protection had been with me!
That falling paint pot hadn’t spilled with contents splattering over the walls and nearby window. The spiralling paintbrush I’d let slip hadn’t caused any disaster either. The expected new carpet hadn’t arrived and been laid, so we had been spared a lot of damage and expensive cleaning costs.
And… most importantly I hadn’t been crippled under the falling, twisting ladder. Even though I was in pain, I could still move around. Things could have been much worse.
Yes, in life things go wrong and it’s so easy to blame others! Worse still we can want to blame God – especially after having asked for his help!
It’s up to us then to watch our attitudes in situations where things seem to have gone wrong – we need to take our eyes of the circumstances and think outside the box, see the bigger picture, and discern what God is doing.
The truth is that no matter what goes wrong, God always remains our good God! He’s still our loving, caring heavenly Father who ‘doesn’t change’ (Psalm 55:19); is just like his Son, Jesus – ‘yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself’ (Hebrews 13:8Mge).
God had protected me – the fall could have been more serious and I could so easily have broken my back. ‘My-own-fault-really’ experience caused me to check my attitude – was I going to blame my loving, caring God for not answering my prayer as I had expected?
Or was I going to rejoice and praise him for his kindness in protecting me from something worse and also ensuring the room itself wasn’t paint splattered?
Those who know me are also aware that I can be stubbornly independent at times when it comes to ‘letting go and letting others.’ So now I was forced to ease up and allow a friend to do the rest of the painting! And to discover afresh what would happen now that I had the right attitude.
It had not been a welcomed experience – but one that led to attitude assessment.
Find a dictionary and discover that ‘attitude’ relates to what we think, how we judge matters and the experiences we go though; one’s frame of mind, viewoint, perspective, interpretation, reaction.
Better still see what your Bible says! It’s not only circumstances that challenge our attitude – Hebrews 4:12 informs us that the power in God’s word ‘judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’
The original Greek word is ennoia indicating thoughtfulness in understanding and intent. And, speaking of the Christian’s new life in Christ, Paul wrote ‘be made new in the attitude of your minds’ (Ephesians 4:23).
When things go wrong, if our attitude remains right, God comes through with blessings – even unexpected ones – in his timing, of course. In my case above, my attitude swiftly became one of praise and thanksgiving and within days of my crashing to the floor (my ‘come-downance’ as it were!), I received some good news – the answer to another prayer!
I won’t go into that blessing here, but it was a long-awaited answer to an area of emptiness that had been in my life for over two years and oh what joy was mine!
Many things in life link together in our Christian experiences. Wrong attitudes may restrict God’s blessings until we change! I’m so glad I kept my attitude right!
So… when something goes wrong, or seems to be going wrong, and your prayer isn’t being answered as you expected it or thought it should be, check your attitude and discover the bigger picture. What is God saying or doing in it all?
Remember too Paul’s Romans 8:28 belief that…
Or as the Message puts it, ‘We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.’