Are you an optimist? Pessimist? Realist? Do you vary, like I do…being too much of an optimist then swinging to pessimism to make up for it? What would we say God is….an optimistic realist?
Or maybe what matters more is just
seeing life through the eyes of Jesus.
Even the most optimistic person pales when compared to Jesus. When we have his viewpoint, everything we do becomes outstanding. We see the needs of others though we have many ourselves. Our hearts aches for those that do not yet know him, or are trapped in sin and shame. The world stops being primarily about me, and goes back to being centered on our Almighty God. We stop looking for our own glory and start realizing it’s God that deserves all the glory.
Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place comes to mind as a great example of God-centered people who aren’t just optimistic but spiritually aligned with Christ. Corrie and her sister Betsy are in a concentration camp, living in complete squalor. At one point, Corrie starts to despair, packed body to body in the bunker, fleas everywhere. But Betsy sees the situation through Jesus’ eyes and
praises God for the fleas,
for they keep the guards away and make it possible to hold Bible studies every day. That small comment is like a ray of truth to Corrie, and she’s motivated to hold on to hope in a very hopeless place.
I know it’s easy to say “we shouldn’t let our circumstances affect our attitude” when life is going well. But, circumstances never have to determine our reality. When we see our current situation through the eyes of Jesus, what seems unfair, horrible and discouraging becomes the dark background which God’s amazing light and hope blazes through. The light of God indeed shines brightest in those difficult, dark situations.
Why is this subject on my mind? I realize I’ve always lived life expecting it to be easy and good. But, we live in a fallen world that is filled with sin and struggles. If my main goal is an easy, happy life, I have to admit,
I’m going to be disappointed…a lot.
Finances may start to improve, and then someone gets sick. Before that’s resolved, relationship issues come up, and oops the finances took another dive. Someone dies, a tree falls on the car. It’s almost laughable at the crazy circumstances we often face. Almost…because really at the time, laughing is the furthest thing on my mind.
But, isn’t God good, we say? Why is there so much suffering and pain? This isn’t how God made our world. He made it full of peace, abundance and love. We, all people, we are the ones that opted to disobey and sin. So, for these 100 years, we need to face a very imperfect world filled with very imperfect people, including myself. God empowers us to persevere and find joy in every circumstance. Not always ease, or happiness, or abundance…but joy.
Our day may be cloudy and grim, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty and light above the clouds. Not everything is visible to us right now. It’s like a dismal, horrible day where we know just above the clouds it’s sunny and beautiful. We don’t see it, but that’s reality. We do walk with our God and Savior every step, empowered by him to impact this world in mighty and amazing ways.