Why are you so downcast, O my soul? . . . Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps. 43:5)

In the last three years, I have seen some difficult times in my friends’ lives as well as in my own: instability within employment, church, school, and relationships; the loss of family members; issues with health; and uncertainty about the future. There have been times where I have felt almost as if there is no escape from the “wicked and deceitful” aspects of life that David spoke about within this passage.

Too many times it is easy to focus on the negatives that seem to surround us. We lose sight that God is our stronghold, and that He has provided us with many blessings through these difficulties. During this time, my best friend’s daughter was born, friends said “I do,” friendships with coworkers and classmates were formed and strengthened, and people were able to see Christ in me during tough times. I learned some valuable lessons I trust I will be able to apply to future job opportunities, as well as both present and future relationships. I have been challenged to see, speak, and listen differently, to be molded more into the image of Christ.

God doesn’t want us to focus on the negatives and be weighted down by such things. He wants us to see Him through such adversity, to put our hope in Him, and to praise Him through these times, to remember that He is our Savior and our God.

Honestly assess your own MO: Are you focusing on the negative or moving toward praise?

Traver Paul Butcher, a PhD candidate in International Psychology, has a passion for helping individuals encounter God in cross-cultural experiences.