by Tim Howard
When I was a small boy I hated naps with a passion. My mother – on the other hand – loved naps. I think it was because she needed a break from me. If the truth were known, it may have been her favorite time of the day!
I recall one afternoon waking up from one of those naps and within a few minutes my mom told me to go back to bed. She said, emphatically, you have a ‘B.A.’ Curious as to why and what that meant, I asked for a reason (in a demanding tone) and she said, “Because you got up on the wrong side of the bed.” At my young age – that didn’t make sense to me but I soon learned she wasn’t talking about the actual side of the bed nor a Bachelor of Arts degree from some college. Those letters stood for: BAD ATTITUDE.
A person’s attitude is connected to his or her focus and perception of life. The reaction or response to the current circumstances only reveals the perception of life and the attitude that is within that person. One man calls it the ‘Squeeze’ principle. The pressures of life that squeeze in upon you – do not create the attitude – just reveal it. The question is: What comes out of you when you are squeezed?
In Acts 16:22-25 of the Bible, Paul and Silas had a challenging day. They were being squeezed! They had been preaching the Gospel in Philippi and the crowd didn’t like what was being said. Both men were ultimately beaten, flogged and thrown into prison. About midnight, “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and praising Him as the other prisoners were listening to them.”
As I read that narrative recently I stopped and asked myself – Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? They have been stripped, flogged, imprisoned, put in stocks, and now they’re singing. What’s going on here? You might expect this verse to read that Paul and Silas were having a pity party and complaining at midnight or they were blaming God and others for there current dilemma.
Nothing is wrong with this scenario, however. These two men simply focused on God through praise and singing and didn’t perceive this to be a major setback. They viewed it as an opportunity where other prisoners could be influenced in a positive way.
The prisoners listened intently to these two men and were impacted greatly because people with a positive attitude in the midst of dark times – Stand out!
Believe it or not – people are watching you - when you’re in the midnight hours of life more than any other times! Here’s a truth to remember: ‘The opportunity to have great impact on a person’s life will often come at the time of great pain.’
Maybe you’re in a midnight crisis right now. How are you handling it? Are you like all the other prisoners, or is Jesus giving you the grace to sing when you would otherwise choose to sulk? God can change a Bad Attitude into a Positive Attitude but you may need to go back to bed, call out to Him and start the day over again.
Someone once said: “Your attitude will determine your altitude.” If that’s true - Make sure you don’t leave home unless you get up on the right side of bed.
By the way… I have learned to love naps. I wish I could take one each and every day – but can’t!