When events in your life go sideways, what type of physical reaction do you have? Perhaps you laugh, cry, or maybe even both at the same time?! Or possibly a quick burst of anger is your thing, followed by tossing your smart phone across the room? Whatever your inkling, have you ever thought about breathing deep, embracing the moment and thanking God in all things? Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (NIV)

I recently celebrated my birthday, and yes I'd be happier if mirrors had never been invented! But with life experience and too many candles on my birthday cake, I'm learning to look beyond circumstances and find a way to give thanks to God for life and breath; to be able to smile more and frown less when things don't go according to plan.

My wife and I often have trouble-plagued date nights. Things like a movie stopping halfway through because the projector popped a widget, car breakdowns, or the time my beloved suffered an allergic reaction from something and was taken to the hospital by ambulance with me frantically following behind! You get the idea...

For my birthday this year we went out for dinner. Or so we tried. Our first choice of restaurants was closed. At the second we sat relaxing with two mugs of hot coffee, ordered our food and wham, the fire alarms clamored to life! We had to leave, but still payed seven dollars for the coffee we hardly drank. Third restaurant--yes we're suckers for punishment!--our food arrives just as my wife's phone goes off, and then mine (yes I know, no phones at the dinner table)! When my call ends and I finally get to eat, my wife is forking in the last few bites of her chicken salad. I look at her with my well-practiced apologetic expression, and not wanting her to wait any longer, I doggie-bag my food and we go home. I realize this is one of life's simpler calamities. Still, we chose to laugh and thank God for the blessing of being together despite another flawed date night.

My friend, I know that life can be far more complicated than fire alarms or wasted coffee. I understand when difficult experiences with stress, worry and fear leave us drained. But together we can learn to embrace those moments, to endure when troubles bubble up. Psalms 119:114 offers hope and says, "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." (NIV)
 
Our ability to endure life's hiccups is easier with Jesus; easier because we have the promise that God causes everything to work together for our good according to His purpose (See Romans 8:28). We are already ransomed! So next time the storms of life weigh you down, turn to the Lord. He is completely reliable, totally dependable and never changing in his love for us.
Then go embrace those moments that might otherwise cause you to grimace and atomize your phone!

Paul Smyth