Summary: Positive thinking does not mean, if you always think positive nothing will ever go wrong. That is wishful thinking, and it won't work. Positive thinking is telling yourself that even when things do go wrong, that is never the last word.
Have you ever watched a movie or play that ended with some basic problems unresolved? It is a great
let down, for we expect that no matter how bad the situation is the bottom line will be a happy ending.
We are conditioned to this. It is a part of our heritage through our fairy tales, novels, and most movies.
Walter Kerr writes of an experience he had. "Not long ago I spoke to an articulate woman who is a
fervent theatergoer and disliked, intensely, the position in which a certain play had put her: She felt
obliged to dismiss it in spite of its obvious merits and her obvious emotional involvement with it. Yes,
she agreed, it had caught her interest. Yes, it had created a lump in her throat. 'But when I came out of
the theater, the lump was still there!' She expostulated, angry and dissatisfied. She had been moved,
but she remained moved, in a way she did not like; some further agent ought to have intervened to
dissolved that lump, to distribute that emotion in some meaningful way."
Where do we get the idea that every story should have a happy ending? We get it from the Bible,
which has influenced our whole culture. Even wise secular authors, movie makers, and play writers will
conform to the Biblical pattern of coming to a positive conclusion. The Bible is filled with sin, folly and
tragedy, but the bottom line is always victory over sin, suffering, and Satan. The Bible ends, and they
lived happily ever after. God's grace is always sufficient to guarantee that the final act is one of
triumph. The result is, the Bible is the world's greatest source of positive thinking. Nothing can be so
bad that God cannot bring it out right. Nothing can be so dark that God cannot make it bright.
Positive thinking is an absolute necessity for anyone who calls themselves a Biblical thinker. What a
pleasure it is to live in a fallen world, where there is no end of things to complain about, yet, still be able
to fill life with praise, because of trust in God. This is where the Psalmist is in Psa. 84. He has his
negatives to endure. He is temporarily cut off from the temple, and envies the birds who can chirp the
praises of God in that lovely environment. He has to plod through the valley of Baca, and figure out how
to make it a place of springs. This can be hard work and a challenge, and he cries out to God to hear his
prayer for strength to press on. He finds himself in a lowly position as a door keeper in the house of
God. There are many notes in the minor key in this great song, but the over all theme is in the major
key of positive thinking.
Positive thinking does not mean, if you always think positive nothing will ever go wrong. That is
wishful thinking, and it won't work. Positive thinking is telling yourself that even when things do go
wrong, that is never the last word. They can be fixed, modified, overcome, or scrapped, but whatever,
life goes on and God's will can be done on earth as it is in heaven. Positive thinking is the conviction that
God always has the last word. Nothing can go so wrong that He will be at a loss to bring good out of it.
Jesus said we are not to fear those who can kill the body and that is all they can do. The worse thing
that can happen in life is somebody killing you. That is a seriously negative in anyone's book. But Jesus
says that is all evil forces can do. That is the limit of their evil. Don't sweat it, for you are still in the
hands of God, and the story does not end as a tragedy, but as a triumph, for in Christ you enter His
kingdom where all pain, sin, and folly is gone forever.
Paul suffered terrible things in his life, and was finally killed as a martyr. His positive thinking was not
a superficial philosophy that said, everyday in every way the world is getting better and better. His
positive thinking was that he trusted in God and was confident that God would write the final chapters of
his life, and they would be chapters of victory. That is why he practiced what he preached: Rejoice in
the Lord always and again I say rejoice. Paul was a man of praise because no matter how much he
suffered, he had the perpetual pleasure that comes with positive thinking. Positive thinking is just a descriptive way of saying faith or trust. Psa. 84 ends with, "O Lord