Steve-ChickThe phrase ‘walking on the sunny side of the street’ came to mind recently whilst I was praying.

This phrase conjures up a picture where one side of the street is in shadows and the other sunshine. It suggests that it is possible to walk in the right direction, but choose which side you walk on.

As Christians we can all too easily find ourselves walking on the wrong side of the street. Problems and difficulties can cast shadows that seem insurmountable. Sadly, we too often walk in the right direction, but allow feelings of negativity to overwhelm our thinking.

Saint Ignatius referred to this as a choice between consolation and desolation. Desolation turns us in on ourselves and can result in a downward spiral, which eventually robs us of our energy.

Consolation on the other hand, comes when we look outside ourselves to God who is greater than our problems and gives us new energy to press on.

In the Book of Psalms, the Psalmist writes: “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”. It is as we look to God that his Holy Spirit encourages, energises and empowers us, how amazing is that?

As we start the new year, I know that it can be all too easy to live in the shadows of the last twelve months rather than look forward with expectation to all that God has planned for us. In the coming weeks, we are intentionally focusing on Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians in our new series ‘Overflowing Joy’. Paul’s letter is one of overflowing joy. As we dig into this letter, I feel we will find great encouragement for the year ahead.

As I conclude, my prayer is that in 2016 we walk together on the sunny side of the street, whatever situations we face and however difficult our circumstances.

God let your Kingdom come!