Whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

DAILY WE ARE BOMBARDED with bad news. Wars and rumors of wars, shootings, stabbings, murders, rapes, kidnappings, tragic accidents. And then there’s extreme weather and issues like human trafficking, world hunger, child pornography, and our fragile economy that cause us to feel overwhelmed. In the midst of all this, many face marriage problems, rebellious kids, aging parents, job loss, health crises, and more.

Pretty depressing, isn’t it? How are we to cope, much less experience hope, in a world that seems constantly on the edge of disaster?

We can choose to put our heads in the sand and never turn on the news. But problems won’t go away just because we refuse to acknowledge them. We can’t make a difference if we are uninformed. Yet how do we guard against becoming totally overwhelmed by the chaos around us?

If my mother were still living, she would probably say, “Look for the silver lining.” I used to think that was a naïve, “pie in the sky” attitude. Yet when I consider the above Scripture verse, I realize my mother’s advice was actually sound. My outlook changes when I look for the good rather than the bad. And when I dwell on how God is at work even in the worst of situations, I’m encouraged and filled with His peace that passes understanding.

Marlene Bagnull celebrated fifty-one years of marriage. She and Paul have three grown children and three grandchildren. She directs two Christian writers’ conferences.