The letter I received from a man in Southwest Africa brightened my day. In spite of the violence in his homeland and serious financial problems, he’s learned the value of starting each day thankful to be alive, choosing to enjoy the beauty of the morning rather than focus on fears about what may come his way before nightfall. In doing so, this former worrier is following the advice of our Lord who told His followers to live one day at a time (Matthew 6:34).
Millions will spoil today fretting over tomorrow, even though most of their expected tragedies will never take place. No one has information enough about the future to worry intelligently and encouraging encounters with positive people often appear in time to turn our minds from fear to faith, providing we’re alert to their arrival.
We stood looking out a lobby window into the work area of a tire store; he was a junior in high school and I an untold number of years his senior. He was watching workmen install new tires on his red S-10 pickup while I waited for them to mount new ones on my nine-year-old black Sable. Seizing the opportunity to share something life changing with him, I simply said: “Start every day thankful.”
I have no way of knowing what trials my S-10 acquaintance will face in the years ahead but when difficult days arrive, I hope he’ll remember our encounter of encouragement when I recommended faith instead of fretting.
Moving from the window on tire trivia to a glass door showcasing a sunny spring day, I found myself standing beside a thirty-something man wearing a frown...
“Great day!” I exclaimed, trying to brighten his mood.
“About time!” he growled, clinging to the gloomy cold week preceding our meeting.
“I’m the author of a book in which I open one of the chapters saying if you can rise each morning not being down about money or the weather you’re on your way to a good day,” I told him.
“I’m down about both,” he replied.
“Give me your address and I’ll send you the book,” I offered.
Scribbling his address on a sheet from a small notepad and handing it to me may have been one of the most important acts of his life.
After leaving the tire store, I stopped for gas and a newspaper, unaware that inside the station, awaited one of the strangest experiences of my life.
“What year did you graduate from high school” asked a fellow customer. And, to my surprise, when I gave my answer he burst into a series of hit songs from that era. But after the songs came a note of sadness, revealing a need of the singer and letting me know this was another encounter of encouragement.
No matter how badly things look today, expect God to come through for you.
Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs.
Join me and my Southwest Africa correspondent as we start each day thanking God that we can bask in the basic blessings of the moment.
And keep watching for encounters of encouragement to brighten every cloudy day.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.