Friday, August 1, 2014

I Don't Want a Half-Full Glass

"Do you see the glass as half-empty or half-full?"

"He's a glass-half-full kind of guy."

"She's just so joyful ... She always see the glass as half-full, you know?"

The tired, watery comparison makes me wrinkle my nose.

It irks me, especially since my favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character is Eeyore and one of my favorite Chronicles of Narnia character is Puddleglum the Marshwiggle {who shows us, btw, that real faith doesn't always come packaged in positivity}.

It annoys me because, my dear friends, life doesn't usually come enrobed in a bubble of dreams-come-true. And if it does, that bubble often pops.

It frustrates me because merely trying to "think positively" causes us to put our trust - our hope - our joy in things.

And things fall apart, as Yeats reminds us.

And when things fall apart, half-full people fall apart, too, or they put on a happy face, scrambling to put a positive, "joyful" spin on the situation.

Glass-half-empty people fall into deep despair, or grit their teeth and bear the situation {for which they prepared in advance ;-)}.

And I wonder, was Jesus a "half-full" or a "half-empty" Man?

Did He try to put a positive spin on each bad situation He encountered? Did He put on his "happy face" and refuse to "be negative?"

I don't think He looked at life with either perspective. Nope, He brings in a third view. For in Psalm 23, we read:

"My cup runs over."

Like the psalmist He inspired, Jesus' eyes were not fixed on the situation, on the cup itself. His eyes were fixed on His Shepherd. He trusted in Him, not in the level of the contents of a vessel {i.e. the outward circumstances}. Jesus' situation was as bad as a man's could get:

He was born to die.
And He knew it.
And He didn't deny it or try to portray that end positively.
{Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane by Arkhip Kuindzhi}

Over this end, He weeps tears and sweats blood. No positive spin there. To try to put one on it would be to deny the horror of the Cross.

And yet, His cup "runs over."
Because He knew it was not the end.

Because He knows that "goodness and mercy will follow Him all the days of His life and He will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." {Psalm 23, my own adaption}

His overflowing cup of joy didn't result from looking at His situation, declaring it promising and hopeful. That would be foolish for Him ... and it's foolish for us, too.

Rather He recognized that His "light affliction" worked for Him a "far exceeding and eternal weight of glory." {2 Corinthians 4:17 nkjv}He recognized the terrible circumstances - "the valley of the shadow of death" referenced earlier in Psalm 23 - and yet declared His hope which would not be disappointed. For He hoped in the Living God, who was His exceeding great reward {Genesis 15:1}. Not Who gave "exceeding great rewards," but Who actually was His reward.

So shall we not trust in Him, hope in Him, believing that He will indeed, regardless of all things appearing to the contrary at times, cause our eternal cup to run over? That He will cause goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our lives - not to walk right next to us, perhaps, but to follow? And that we will indeed dwell in the house of our Lord forever?

"My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips."

May His goodness and mercy follow you this weekend, dear readers, as you fix your eyes fast on Him. {And may your cup overflow.}


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