Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philipians 4:8)
I saw research a few years ago (which I can't find now) that showed dwelling on good things actually makes a difference in pain tolerance.
The goal was to submerge one hand in a bowl of ice water for as long as could be tolerated. Half of the test subjects were taken to a room with beautiful bouquets of flowers and told it may help them if they focused on those. The other half were taken to a bare room with only a table, a chair, and the ice water.
The findings showed that the testers who had the beautiful flowers to look at were able to keep their hands in the icy water much longer than the other group.The flowers actually made a difference in how long the pain could be tolerated!
Look. Here's the truth of it. We all have difficult circumstances to endure throughout life. There is going to be an icy bowl or two for all of us, and most of us have already had a few.
In fact, there are tiny icy bowls all around, each day. The plumbing backs up. The car breaks down, or gets stuck in the mud. Bills are overdue.
And we all have flowers to look at.
Oh, you may not have literal flowers in a vase sitting on your dining room table. But there are lovely things to focus on. We have life. And freedom. The sun comes up in a glorious display each morning. And goes down in similar fashion. We're redeemed.
Now, when it comes time to face that icy bowl, and we will face the icy bowl, we get to choose what we will focus on. Will you endure the pain by gritting your teeth and staring at blank walls? Or will you focus on the beauty in life?