Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick told a story that's been playing in my mind recently:
On the slope of Long’s Peak in Colorado lies the ruin of a gigantic tree. Naturalists tell us that it stood for some 400 years. It was a seedling when Columbus landed at San Salvador, and half-grown when the pilgrims settled at Plymouth.
During the course of its long life, it was struck by lightning fourteen times and the innumerable avalanches and storms of four centuries thundered past it. It survived them all. In the end, however, an army of beetles attacked the tree and leveled it to the ground. The insects ate their way through the bark and gradually destroyed the inner strength of the tree by their tiny but incessant attacks. A forest giant which age had not withered, nor lightning blasted, nor storms subdued, fell at last before beetles so small that a man could crush them between his forefinger and his thumb.
Most of us can survive times of crisis. We summon the strength of faith and resolve for most any battle that we face. It is the small things like gossip, suspicion, lies, and negativity that eat us from the inside and bring about our downfall. There is a lot of talk these days around a word called "resilience". Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress - such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.
Proverbs 17:22 tells us "a cheerful heart is good medicine." It seems to me that our world today puts a high value on tearing one another down rather than building one another up. The Bible warns us about being conformed to the world rather than transformed by the Spirit. How shall we treat one another? What behavior will we reward and reject in one another? It seems to me that God has put us in this time and place to be "good medicine" to a sick world that has forgotten how to relate to one another and to connect with God.
Why not start today to nurture a cheerful heart and speak words of healing and encouragement into people’s lives? Let us truly become salt and leaven in our homes and community.