As you can imagine, I spend a lot of my time as hospice chaplain, caring for our patients’ spiritual life. But I am also chaplain to our team. One of the ways I support the team is through my weekly Monday Inspiration emails that I try to have in their inbox when they log in, first thing Monday morning. Each week, I write a short message to inspire and get their week off to a good start. I often include a bit of scripture or an inspirational quote to encourage them.
Recently, I was doing a search for quotes about “life.” The site I was on usually has text over pictures. I observed that nearly all the quotes had a nature scene in the background. Most were beautiful mountains, or a nice waterfall, or perhaps a field of wild flowers. I have probably visited this site a hundred times, but the background pictures never caught my attention like they did this time. It made me ponder the background in a deeper way. Why did they choose a background? Why were they all nature scenes?
We all know that life has its ups and downs. Life is more than beautiful mountains. It also includes our relationships, our work, maintaining our vehicles, etc. But an inspirational quote over a picture of a leaking under-sink drain would not bring much encouragement, would it? It seems that, an encouraging quote over a background of a waterfall would be much more positive. Both have water in the picture, but – show of hands – how many would rather be standing before a natural waterfall than one under your sink? I see those hands and it is unanimous!
If I were to take a poll, I think we would find that people overwhelmingly wish for a life of beautiful scenes, rather than the troubles we all face. So, how can we keep our mind on the peaceful? It takes an intentionality on our part to view life’s troubles as temporary and still see the beauty that lies beyond. But how?
The more we focus on what really matters, the less our troubles consume us. I mean, what if someone were to quote, “Life stinks!” in front of the nature scene? I’d say, “But look at those mountains!”
In reality; this illustration points to our foundation. There is a parable in the Bible about foundation. It speaks about a house being built on shifting sand. When the rains and wind come, the house falls flat. Contrast that with the house built on a solid spiritual foundation. When the rains and wind come, the house stands firm (see Matthew 7:24-27).
What’s the foundation under your feet? What’s the background to your picture? When the rains and wind come, are you able to see through to the beauty that is still there beyond this current trouble? Or do the winds and rain knock you down?
I realize that a broken car or cracked window does not compare to something so huge as a devastating health diagnosis. But the bigger our foundation in faith, the more we are able to open our eyes to an even bigger background picture… one of eternal beauty.
My prayer today is that you would have a firm foundation – a beautiful backdrop – for your life.