One of her favorite stories is “Rainbow Cheerios” by Paul Strack. Paul started his story with the words, “Cool – You have Rainbow Cheerios!” He goes on to explain that on the night of April 26, 2011, tornadoes hit the Mayflower, Arkansas area. His 13-year-old daughter learned that her friend’s house had been destroyed.
He reached out to the family and asked, “what can we do to help?” What the family needed most was someplace for their teenage daughters Rachael and Taylor to stay for a few days. Paul recounted, “with three teenagers of our own, and a 10-year-old to boot, we have a pretty good understanding of the adolescent attitude. What was odd and completely unexpected, was the positively bubbly, effervescent attitude that these two brought with them. And to have this attitude after immediately being displaced was nothing short of remarkable.”
When Paul told them how sorry he was for their loss, Taylor replied, “Oh well, what are you gonna do? It’s just a bump in the road.” Rachael quickly chimed in, “Yeah, they will bulldoze our house, and we will get to rebuild. And anyway, Mom finally gets to get her new carpet.” He couldn’t believe their positive attitude.
The next morning at breakfast, Paul heard Rachael exclaim, “How cool!” Rachael repeated – “How Cool! You guys have Rainbow Cheerios!” In the podcast, Paul explained, “we often buy our more popular cereals in bulk and empty the contents into plastic containers so they stay fresh. (No, my own Fiber One is not one of these.) But we often do buy Fruit Loops. You know, those sweet and sugary rings full of all the colors of the rainbow. Cheerios have the Honey Nut version, the Frosted version, and the Banana Nut version and now even the Multi-Grain version, but no rainbow version. Except through the eyes of Rachael.”
Two days after her house was destroyed by a tornado, she was still able to find complete joy – in a bowl of multicolored cereal. Her attitude reminds me of the admonition found in James 1:2 (NIV); “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James goes on to explain, “you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3,4 (NIV)
We are to consider the troubles that we are going through pure joy, not because the trouble is pleasurable, but because it helps produce patience within us. There is at least one good thing happening to us in the middle of our trouble. Our suffering is more than just pain. God has a purpose, and that purpose is always good. “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 (VOICE) We can consider all things joy because God is working in all situations, even the most painful, for our salvation.
When our lives are filled with trouble, sorrow, and grief; we must be able to look to the future to find the joy. Jesus is our example. “Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.” Hebrews 12:2 (VOICE)
Joy is more than just feeling good. Joy has to do with the acceptance of our present circumstances and deciding to have a positive attitude. It is our positive assessment that God is still in control of our difficult circumstances, and in the end, all things work together for our good. “When my worry is great within me, Your comfort brings joy to my soul.” Psalms 94:19 (NLV)
Charles R. Swindoll writes, “the single most significant decision I can make today is my choice of attitude.” If you let negative attitudes such as anxiety, envy, anger, or bitterness dominate your mind, those attitudes will lead you to make decisions that will affect your life in negative ways. But if you choose with God’s help to have a positive attitude, your life will become positive as a result.
In 1988, Singer-Songwriter Bobby McFerrin recorded the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy," The lyrics say, “in every life, we have some trouble. But when you worry you make it double. Don't worry, be happy. Don't worry, be happy now.” Whenever you have trouble, avoid reacting negatively and instead choose to respond positively. You can’t control situations or people, but you can choose how you’ll respond to them.
Gentle Reader, “be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.” Romans 12:12 (NCV) “I heartily recommended that you pursue joy, for the best a person can do under the sun is to enjoy life. Eat, drink, and be happy. If this is your attitude, joy will carry you through the toil every day that God gives you under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15 (VOICE) So, what are you gonna do? When you hit a bump in the road where do you find your Rainbow Cheerios?