IS YOUR OUTLOOK AN UPLOOK? The famous couplet from ‘The Prisoner of Chalon’ speaks volumes: ‘Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw mud, the other stars.’ All of us ‘look out from prison bars’–incarcerated, as we are, in a body or mind often wracked by pain, discomfort, depression, etc. and a soul writhing with evil proclivities. And our fellow inmates often exacerbate our suffering by their own hurtful words and actions. In all of this affliction, we tend to see mostly mud and seldom stars. We neglect to look heavenward to perceive what can be seen only with the eyes of faith, not with the eyes of our face, because we’re slow to learn to ‘walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Cor. 5:7). Stalwart souls whose outlook in life is a hope-filled uplook will survive this earthly confinement far better than the more common ‘downlookers,’ who are preoccupied with their pains, hurts and hardships. Negative persons view life as a mud pit; they can’t revel in it as a star-spangled sky. Their ‘downlook’ of hopelessness eclipses their hope. This is a talk for the problem-oppressed–those who seldom look up to see and appreciate the awesome divine activity that reaches down from above to enrich and support them. That unrecognized help is God’s loving providence; with our cooperation it makes ‘all things work together for good’ (Rom. 8:28). Learn how to look up and accept that gift–your most effective faith-stimulator.