So, I was in the car Wednesday morning, with Christmas music playing, because I couldn’t handle any more sadness from radio news. My heart was heavy, grieving for the loss of my beloved country. And even with the music, I was feeling crummy, because I have had some illness going on for the last three weeks, which made it so I couldn’t even sing along. So I was what you might call “poor in spirit,” as I imagine half the population was this day.
I was on my way somewhere that, if I could manage to pull myself together, would be a joyful and peaceful place to be for the day, but—there was that problem of pulling myself together, and I was only about ten minutes away. So I was praying, aloud, there in my car. And the very clear thought came to me, along with an awareness of the music and Christmas and other joys, “Think on these things.” I remembered the phrase from Paul’s admonition. I couldn’t remember the reference right then, but I found it easily later.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
That’s what I need to do, to keep the grief at bay when my mind is spinning all kinds of reasons for depression: think on praiseworthy, lovely things. Think about visiting my grandchildren and children. Think about music and other things that lift and energize me. There’s a Christmas choir concert coming up I intend to sing in. There are things I want to play and record for my grandchildren, so they can hear me sing to them even when I’m not nearby. There’s celebrating the birth of Christ next month, adjusting to doing that when none of the kids live at home anymore—a first. There is work and service to be done. There are things to be written without any implications on an impending election.
As I was reading that chapter of Philippians, I came across some other words that I needed, including the two preceding verses:
4:6 Be careful [full of care, overly concerned] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And then there’s verse 13 besides:
4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
I had time, so I actually read all of Philippians. This was in chapter 2:
2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world….
It seemed that last phrase was written for such a day as this. Paul wrote this letter to the saints in Philippi from a Roman prison. But in chapter 1, he sees the good even in that:
1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out [turned out, or come] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel….
There will be other thoughts for other days. But for now, to get beyond the grieving that interferes with living life, if there is something the Lord turns my attention to, to uplift me, I will “think on these things.”