Today has not been especially good. I had to make a difficult telephone call this morning and this made me feel pretty low for the rest of the day. Even the unseasonal sunshine didn’t do much to lift my spirit. Before I made that difficult call I prayed. After I made that difficult call I prayed. I also read my Bible. Matthew 16 verse 23 really jumped out at me: “… you are seeing things merely from a human point of view.” These words might have been directed at Peter by Jesus immediately after Peter said that he would never let Jesus die, but they have relevance in almost all situations we humans face.
Seeing things merely from a human point of view has never been a problem for Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, who have become known as The Penguins of Madagascar. This is also the title of the fourth DreamWorks movie to feature these four lovable rogues. The penguins have a reputation for getting into scrapes, but their philosophy when trouble strikes is to simply ‘smile and wave.’
I did not feel like smiling or waving much today. Ridiculous really. It was only a phone call. It didn’t hurt me, it was just something I had to do, but would rather not have done. I am guessing that Jesus would probably have rather not lived for thirty-three years in a human body in the no-tech world of the day. The Bible doesn’t mention Jesus smiling and waving, but when I read of the scrapes Jesus got into I can’t help but imagine Him smiling, especially deep inside His being. The three long years Jesus spent on the road were not especially easy, but if he had conducted His ministry in absolute misery then I am certain He would have had no followers, and the powers of the day would have had no reason to plan His execution. In which case, I would not be sitting here writing this blog post.
In Thessalonians Paul writes that we should be joyful in all circumstances, because God expects it. Put simply – smile and wave whatever the situation. I can think of many circumstances that are considerably worse than making a difficult telephone call. Etched in my mind are images of brothers-in-Christ dressed in orange jumpsuits waiting to be brutally murdered because of their faith in Him. And I spend a day down in the dumps because of a telephone call? My problem is my tendency to see things only from a human perspective. I need to start thinking like a penguin.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT)