The Glass is Not Half-Full

We’ve all heard it said that some people look at the glass as half-empty and others see the same glass as half-full. This week, I was thinking about where the Christ-follower should fit into this spectrum. The words from Psalms 23:5 popped into my head: “My cup overflows.” Early in the week, I was reading in Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening the author’s reflections on Lamentations 3:24, “‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul.” Spurgeon wrote, “. . .if God is all-sufficient in Himself, He must be all-sufficient for us.” David wrote in Psalms 16:5, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup.” If we choose the Lord for our portion, He is our overflowing cup. Christians aren’t supposed to be optimists or pessimists. We believe that God is in control of all things, and we know how the story ends. We are free to be realists, living in the reality of the victory that will be won, and has already been won.

I used to think I couldn’t be content without having the things I longed for. I thought I needed a husband and a family in order to be happy. I was living life as though my glass were only half-full. But I learned that contentment is found in trusting God. If we trust Him to be faithful, and if we believe that He knows what is best for us, we do not need to worry about our circumstances. Instead of focusing on what we have or don’t have, we can focus on Him and His faithfulness to us. Even as I type this, it seems overly simple and perhaps trite. But I know from experience that it is a precious truth. When I was younger, I never imagined that I could find joy and contentment as a single woman at the ‘ripe-old-age’ of forty-four. Indeed, the life I am living now is the nightmare of my thirty-four-year-old self. But in between, I discovered for myself that God’s grace is sufficient and His mercies are new each morning. He has allowed me to find joy in a life circumstance I had thought I couldn’t bear. This road to peace began with a conscious decision to seek God rather than any other desire in my heart. I saw that He had chosen me, so I made Him “my chosen portion.”

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want [for anything!].
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

Psalm 23

There is a lot to be concerned about in our nation and world. But, as Christians, we should never use difficult times as an excuse to live a glass-is-half-empty life. We can take seriously the dangers and trials around us while still choosing to live in joy rather than fear. In 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8, Paul admonished believers to “keep awake and be sober.” Further, he instructed, “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”  We are dressed for battle because conflict is imminent. Yet, a few verses later, Paul wrote, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). We are prepared and watchful, yet still rejoicing. We are ready for battle, knowing our victory is sure, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (1Thes. 5:9-10).

The Bible is clear about what our perspective is to be. We are to ‘look to Jesus’ and see life through the salvation that He has worked for us (Hebrews 12:2). We rejoice always, but we are not surprised by trials or difficulties. Neither are we anxious, for Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). A God-centered perspective on life is an overflowing glass. If you believe in God, but you are seeing your glass as only half-full, or worse, half-empty, there is only one cure that I know of: Scripture. God’s Word is what He has chosen to reveal about Himself, and if we are to look to Jesus, we must use Scripture to see Him as He is.

These days, pulling into the gas station causes me anxiety; I’m sure I’m not the only one. I find myself praying as I prepare to fill my tank. I start by thanking God for providing me the means to pay for the gas that I am buying, today. Then, I pray that He will help me to trust Him, no matter what tomorrow brings. It is easier to trust Him when I start by remembering and giving thanks for what He has already provided for me. This Thanksgiving, my cup is overflowing with the blessings God has given me of family and friends, a job I enjoy, a comfortable home, and the children I sponsor through Compassion International. My sister and I just finished filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, which the best part of my year. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be part of His family. Whether the gas tank of my car is half-full or half-empty, my cup overflows. Thanks be to God!

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