Turning Attitude Into Gratitude

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When bad news comes knocking, why not ask God to change your negative attitude into one of heartfelt gratitude?

"They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD." Psalm 112:7 (NIV)

Trusting God when good news arrives? No problem. I see His hand at work; His unconditional love in action and gratitude fills my heart.

But when bad news comes knocking, my gratitude can easily turn into attitude.

After a busy morning speaking at a weekend women's conference, I made my way back to the book table, glad to find two kind souls willing to handle all the details while I signed books.

When lunchtime arrived and the book table was quickly abandoned in favor of chicken salad and fudge brownies, one of my helpers touched my shoulder.

"Liz?" Her anguished expression should have warned me. "I don't know how to tell you this, but ... I lost your bank bag."

My heart sank. "With all the money in it?"

She nodded, chin trembling. "I carried it with me into the ladies' room for safekeeping. When I put it down to wash my hands, I started talking to someone, then forgot what I was doing and left without the bag." Her voice was strained to the breaking point. "I ran back in, but it was gone. I'm so sorry, Liz ..."

My first instinct? (Get ready: this is ugly.) I wanted to stomp my foot and say, "That was a lot of money! How could you be so careless?"

By God's grace, I didn't go there. The woman simply had made a mistake. Hadn't I made one or two (or 10 or 20) myself?

My second instinct was to flip my hand as if it didn't matter and say, "Whatever." I couldn't go that route, either. We were both concerned, and for good reason; it was foolish to pretend otherwise.

So, I took a deep breath, prayed for God's peace, then said, "Let's trust the Lord on this one and not worry about the money." Wait. Not worry about money, lots of which needed to go back to my publisher to pay for those sold books?!Clearly that easygoing attitude didn't come from me.

God alone managed to override the unkind words I might have said. He also tempered my anxious thoughts and toned down my conflicted emotions. The only thing on my mind at that moment was helping ease the woman's obvious distress.

Trust me, this was not Liz being a good girl. This was God being a great God.

With an utter sense of peace, I hugged her, then whispered, "Let it go." I felt her slowly relax. Then I surprised us both by announcing, "I believe the bag will turn up. How about we go to lunch and let God take care of things?"

Not worry? Not fret? Not obsess? So not my style. But that Saturday, by the power of His Spirit, I really did trust God with my whole heart. In fact, I couldn't wait to see what He might do to solve our problem.

Thirty minutes later the woman in charge came running up to our lunch table, her face shining. "We found your bank bag! Someone left it in the sanctuary."

Yes. I smiled broadly. Someone did.

Was I grateful to have the money back? Sure. But the lessons I learned about letting go and trusting God were far more valuable.

On the drive home I thanked Him over and over for stilling my tongue and calming my spirit. For keeping me from wounding a sister in Christ. For nudging whoever picked up the bag to do the right thing and leave it where it might be found. For changing my negative attitude into heartfelt gratitude.

Heavenly Father, even bad news is bearable with You by my side. When I'm tempted to worry, fret or obsess, remind me to pray, trust and let go. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 9:9-10, "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)

Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When you're tempted to react from a place of fear, instead respond from a place of faith. Remember, God is more than able to rescue you.

Are you facing a bad-news situation today? What can you say or do to practice faithfulness and help ease someone else's discomfort?

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