Today’s scripture: Psalm 143 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen-Bradford):

I have been an Occupational Therapist (OT) for over 10 years now. OTs are an integral part of the rehabilitation process for people who have experienced an injury or illness. Before that, I worked in a hospital as a patient care technician. I think it’s fair to say that I have seen my share of sick people. Over the years, I have noticed that there is a common mindset between those who do well versus those who do not. By “do well” I mean regain as much function as possible and reach their full potential. It can be a long and sometimes painful process that may take months or years. I can usually tell by the first meeting whether or not someone has the right mindset to go the distance. There is a key component to their outlook that is so pivotal to success. Almost all of my patients will tell me about their dysfunction and their problems (and they should, that’s what I am there for), but the ones who do well don’t focus on the problem; they focus on the solution. They don’t ignore the difficulties, but all of their mental efforts are not spent dissecting and analyzing the problem; they concentrate and almost meditate on the solutions. As a result they often progress faster and have better mobility and a better attitude throughout the rehab process. In my experience, I have seen this across the board, from broken shoulders to brain injuries, amputations to heart attacks: people who keep their mind stayed on the solution instead of the problem are better off.

In my own life I have noticed a similar trend. When I face adversity, my natural tendency is to focus on and analyze it. I make it my mission to learn all about it. I take my concerns to God (as I should), but then, sometimes, I ruminate on it. When I do that, I know I am defeated before I even begin. I size up my enemy without even sizing up my God. I focus on how the difficulty that I am facing has taken down stronger and better people than me. I contemplate and study my own inadequacies and failures, never really giving true thought and meditation to the mightiness and excellence of God, thereby stifling my own progress. I make my journey longer and harder, and I limit my potential because I look inward instead of upward. But I have learned.  Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” Now I know that when trouble comes in my direction, I will still assess my adversary, but I will only consider and ruminate on my God. I reflect on the miracles that I have seen in my life and in others. I remind myself of all that God has seen me through. I read the Bible and recall how God helped others in similar situations, and I become encouraged. That is what it means to me to be more than a conqueror in Jesus. To know, I mean really know, that the solution is greater than the problem. To know that you have the victory before the fight even begins. Let me encourage you today by reminding you to ponder and meditate on the goodness and the works of God instead of the works of your adversary.

Prayer for the day: Lord, thank you so much for your faithfulness even when we falter and let our thoughts shake our faith. Help us to be strong in the face of danger, and give us the right mindset that we may go the distance and reach our full potential. In our moments of fear and doubt remind us of who you are so that we may be encouraged. In Jesus name, amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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