If you followed the “Peanuts” cartoon strip and/or saw any of the movies made with those characters, you will surely remember how Snoopy was sometimes portrayed as the famous WWI Flying Ace. He fought his way across France doing battle with the infamous Red Baron of Germany. The Flying Ace would get shot down by the Red Baron and cry out “Curses, foiled again!” I actually cannot at this moment remember those instances clearly, but I am sure that Snoopy must have been very frustrated. He probably wondered “Why me?” “Why do I not ever defeat him?” “What am I doing wrong?” Surely lots of frustration. So now flash forward to today and our real lives.
You are driving to an appointment and are running a bit late. Every traffic light seems to turn red just as you are approaching the intersection. Impatience may even tempt you to drive carelessly in order to get to your appointment on time – which in reality you likely will anyway.
You go into a restaurant and witness the waitress taking orders from people all around you that arrived after you did. You are hungry, your children are hungry and are getting restless, you are not happy.
You get to your doctor’s office and check in, then wait and wait and wait while your appointment time fades into the background. You are not happy and may even feel disrespected.
You are with a group of friends and are trying to tell them a story. Someone else either starts interjecting their side of the story or just interrupting you for no real reason. You finally just give up.
Most of those scenarios are nothing more than just situations that cause irritation and frustration. But there are some that could actually be situations that could be life altering if frustration is allowed to overrule your good sense (i.e., the travel delays from red lights and your reaction.)
Some people are so very relaxed and laid back that these kinds of things just do not bother them in the slightest. But, then you have some people that simply get impatient, then move up to the people that get obnoxious and rude about the situation, then escalation moves up to people that rage, either verbally or possibly even physically when inconvenienced.
Lots of years ago, I read many books by an author – Frances Gardner Hunter. One of those books was called “Praise The Lord Anyway”. (When I googled the book, it came up as available on a website that is a major book seller and the description of the book there says: “This book points out why you should thank God for your problems as well as your blessings. Just as a tree grows stronger during storms, so do Christians grow stronger during adversity. This is an inspiring book which will help you realize God’s guidance in everything in your life.”)
I will tell you that the book truly did alter my attitudes and my life. It has been a very long time since I read the book, but I believe what she encouraged the reader to do was every time something happened that irritated or upset you, instead of reacting in your normal negative way, just speak out “Praise The Lord Anyway.” I started doing that and soon found myself remaining much calmer and happier- especially when I was out driving in traffic.
Now I will confess that over the years I have not remained steadfast in doing that. I also will tell you that as a result, I am not calmer and happier when I react to frustrating situations. So I am going to start working on that very easy solution again in my life.
There are a lot of little things in our lives that seem unimportant; but, how we react to them, how we handle them, can turn those little things into much bigger things.
What we need to understand more clearly, is that God loves us totally and completely and He is concerned about everything in our lives. We as humans are no different. We are concerned about all things that affect those that we deeply love and care about, do we not? So God is going to lead and direct our lives in a way that is best for us. Here is a perfect example:
Exodus 13:17-18 (TLB): “So at last Pharaoh let the people go. God did not lead them through the land of the Philistines, although that was the most direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land. The reason was that God felt the people might become discouraged by having to fight their way through, even though they had left Egypt armed; he thought they might return to Egypt. Instead, God led them along a route through the Red Sea wilderness.” There was a very real and legitimate reason for what God did.
If you have read this story or seen the movies about it, then you know that the people began to grumble against Moses and his directions (which were really God’s directions). They became impatient, rude and rebellious and it cost them dearly. They ended up wandering around for 40 years and the older generation never got to see the promised land. How different that story would have been if they had only stayed patient, calm, obedient and said “Praise The Lord Anyway!” and made the best of the situation.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (MSG): “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” Is that always going to be easy? No, it will not. But working to change our outlook and attitude can make it happen.
How much calmer and happier our lives would be if we could just learn to let go of things and let God handle them. If we could try to stay cheerful, pray and be thankful. We should learn that instead of saying “Curses, foiled again!” and feeling beaten down and frustrated, we say “Praise The Lord Anyway!” and watch our lives improve.
Romans 8:28 (AMP): “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
Written by Karran Martin – September 16, 2021