Optimism vs. Hopelessness!

Have you ever heard well-intended advice such as the following?

“Stop being so negative, _______ won’t happen.” Or, “Be hopeful and optimistic — don’t worry so much…”

Realistically, we all worry at some point in our daily life. No one is wired to always think “happy thoughts”. Life has many ups and downs and it is not always a smooth ride. Ultimately, it comes down to how pragmatically we handle the rules of life.

What are your thoughts about the following example of one woman’s belief regarding idealism and hopelessness?  Many who know her might say, “She is a worrier, but her character has traits of optimism.”  But, if you ask her about the degree her positivity [how far can she go on holding a positive attitude], her answer lives in the rhythm of reality. She says,

“I can’t pretend that everything always will be like the reflection of the sun’s rays in the drops of rain [rainbows and sunshine].” She continues, “I’ve been around the block a few times and I can’t promise you constant hopefulness in the face of difficult circumstances. Certainly, too much optimism can be harmful, so it is important to stay realistic. Finding the middle ground is essential.”

Putting aside her circumstances, this woman has cultivated a balanced attitude as she surveys her future.  She has found solid ground where she doesn’t have to pretend there is always sunshine, instead she stays true to herself and embraces the patches of dark clouds—disappointment and hopelessness….  In the scheme of things, that’s what life is.  It’s through those moments that her thoughts capture the essence of her beliefs and she goes on saying:

“I wish I could promise you that I would always be optimistic. 

I wish I could promise you that I would be always be hopeful; 

that I won’t face hard challenges, or physical pains. I wish I could….

But I cannot, for I know pain and disappointment are part of life. 

Yet, I can promise you this: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the 

strength of my heart and my portion forever. [Psalm 73: 26] “

She continues: “I wish I could promise you that people won’t reject my love—the love that is connected to the truth of God’s love. Sadly, they will blindly deny it. As the Bible projects, ‘Having eyes, do they not see? And having ears, do they not hear? And do they not remember?’ [Mark 8: 18] Could it be that their love and desires are based on shifting conditions—like the ocean waves, tossing and turning, always changing? Yes! Yet, I’m definitely and absolutely sure of God’s promise that He will never leave me or forsake me.”

She is loudly affirming God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, which is the evidence of God’s presence in her life. Knowing the truth of heaven and seeing the painful reality of life on earth, she is encouraged to pray without ceasing for the salvation of others.

Come to think of it, her desire to live a righteous life and her abiding love for her people resemble the Prophet Jeremiah’s passion for the people of his time. He was known as the “weeping prophet” for his deep love and concern for his people. The heartbreak and hopelessness this mystery woman has for the people who she loves, is like the sorrow of Jeremiah. Their rejection of God, through the redemption of Jesus, breaks her heart.

In spite of the pains in her flesh, the hopeless moments, and the disappointments, her optimism is strongly anchored in Heavenly places, as Prophet Jeremiah and Prophet David remind us in the following verses: [Lamentation 3: 24] “ The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him. [Psalm 33: 18] “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love…’

The word of God strongly encourages us to stay hopeful, steadfast, and to trust in the Lord for the outcome in whatever the day may bring us…


How do You Overcome the Giants in Your Life?

At times we all face challenges in life. Perhaps you are going through one right now. Everyone deals with life’s troubles differently. These difficulties are the GIANTS in our lives. They come in different sizes and shapes and though they may not be visible for everyone to see, they are enormous issues in our lives – health issues, illness or disease, infertility, divorce, drug, food and sex addictions, financial problems, marital struggles, misbehaving kids, etc.

With all that we battle through everyday, it matters how we learn to handle the giants in our lives.  How do you fight your giants? Do you give up or ignore them, or do you face them with faith and persistence, knowing that the victory will be yours? Sometimes we don’t feel God’s presence with us and we think He has abandoned us as we walk through our battlefield. Perhaps we are the ones who, by going our own way and not paying attention, are not allowing ourselves to hear him or feel His presence. We are so busy with the jingle of the visible world and think we can control and change things in our lives using our own power. We are spiritually blindfolded as our GIANTS try to defeat us, and not aware that God is always moving on our behalf.  He is saying, “O, My beloved daughter/son, you cannot change things by relying on your own power. You have tried this many times before, but it never works. You continue aimlessly in a vicious cycle.”  

But what if you move in faith like David in the story of “David versus Goliath”?  If you do, you can know for sure that you will be victorious in the end. For those who haven’t read the story of David and Goliath in the Bible, you can find it in [1 Samuel:17].

When I studied the life of David the prophet (Prophet Dawud), I learned how to deal with my own daily battles. Through reading and meditating on God’s word, I became aware of the light around me and was encouraged to pray unceasingly. The light of God’s presence was shining so brightly on my life that I could clearly see the futility of my old desires and wishes. As we know, some old habits die hard, and mine were still showing up at times, becoming stumbling blocks on my path. As the time went by, I realized these habits were the Goliath (giant) in my life. How could I fight this strong giant on my path?  The answer is, like David did, to move forward in faith! Then God will graciously surround us with His mighty power. That is what He did in my life, by surrounding me with mature believers to help me to draw closer to him.

I learned from spiritual leaders and strong believers that I need to do four things to  defeat the stumbling blocks of life:

1- Come humbly before God, admit that I am weak, and pray passionately and earnestly from my heart.  

2 – Ask God to fill my mind with His word. Read it over and over that it may protect me and become part of me.

3- Accept support from the other believers.

4- Hold on to God’s promises. As it says in (Isaiah 40:10), “Those who hope in the Lord will fly like Eagles …” And [Romans 8:31] “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

So David triumphed over a giant with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the mighty Goliath and killed him.

Don’t you think you could be like David the shepherd boy, who was a man of faith? You mayw be up against a giant (divorce, severe illness, financial devastation, loss of a loved one, loss of job, etc..) and feeling as if you have no protection. But the way to emerge victoriously from the battlefield is to focus not on how big your giant is, but to focus on how big your God is. Be confident, knowing that if God delivered David from the hands his enemy, He will also deliver you successfully through the battle and will hand you the reward that He has promised you according to your faith.

Jesus said: (Matthew 9:29 ) “According to your faith let it be done to you.”