The book of Proverbs in the Bible is full of solid, common sense advice. It teaches us about cause and effect and actions and consequences; it is a very practical and useful book.
However, the book of Proverbs is not all God has to say about how life works, Proverbs goes hand in hands with 4 other books that make up the category of ‘wisdom literature’ - Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Psalms and Job in particular focus on the suffering of the righteous and the way the wicked seem to prosper and get away with doing wrong. Bearing this in mind I am going to focus on Proverbs at this time.
The practical positivity of Proverbs
This week my husband and I were meant to be flying to the Gold Coast for a holiday and to attend the Annual Christian Today Conference but due to COVID-19 our flights were cancelled (and our entry to Australia!)
Now that is a very small thing in the scheme of things compared with what others are suffering and compared with the wonderful inheritance we have in Christ, but to be honest we’re a bit disappointed. However, we decided on focusing on positive things over the coming week because as Proverbs chapter 17, verse 22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
We do wish that COVID-19 had never happened but since it has then I’m trying to find the good things in the situation whilst remaining sensitive to people who have been affected in much more severe ways than us. One major positive is that Eoin has been working from home a lot since the pandemic started, it is so nice having extra time to spend with him and the cats love it too! We are so grateful to God that he has strengthened our marriage and made us love each other even more during this time of “forced togetherness”.
Another positive for us is that we’ve had more time to do things at home, we’ve given several parts of the house a long overdue spring cleaning, we’ve got several craft/home renovation projects done and we’ve been able to have a more relaxed pace of life with less rushing around. Another benefit is that with the resources we would have otherwise used to travel we have been able to help out some extra causes and get ourselves some nice treats from our wish-lists.
Blessing in spite of disappointment
This year has been a hard one. Even though we are blessed to not have been impacted too severely, there have still been several hard times throughout it. However, not only is God gracious to give us a reconciled relationship with himself through Jesus and eternity to look forward – the best encouragement in hard times – he is also gracious to bring small blessings into our daily lives.
Blessings such as chances to slow down and have a cup of tea together in the sun, the ability to relax into a good book or get a new project done without as many interruptions, and the opportunity to discover new ways to connect with friends and loved ones – who knew playing a board game over Zoom could be so much fun!
Times are not the best right now but if we slow down and look around, we may be able to find that there is still some good around us. As the writer of Proverbs says, “have the good medicine that comes from having a cheerful heart.”
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.