At many different places in life, I have had one friend, or another, tell me that they were annoyed by my optimism. I remember in high school, and even in college, being made fun of for my cheeriness. One time, my husband and I were building houses in Mexico, and it was a miserable day. It was hot and dusty, and nothing was going right. I found it ridiculous, and decided that I would not let the bad day have the last word. I started to cheer on my co-workers in an absolutely over-the-top sort of way. I really made a fool of myself. I wanted to, at the very least, give my team members something to laugh at. The leader of our team, turned to my husband, and asked, “Is she always this encouraging?” Please read that with sarcasm.
The truth is I’m not a naturally positive person. I’m quite the opposite. Ask anyone who’s ever lived with me. 😉 It is a battle that I fight. Every morning, as I sip my coffee, I wage war against myself, and my own pragmatism. I see all of the mess. The ugliness, the evil, the injustice, that, like a gravitational pull, draws us down into the grimness of this world. And, like, gravity, there are days when it has more power than I would like it to. But, we must at least, try to fight it.
Bonhoeffer says, “The believer is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. To be either is illusory. The believer sees reality not in a certain light but as it is, and believes only in God and God’s power towards all and over all that is seen.” It is my battle, and yours, to believe, and keep watch for the good things that God is doing. Some days it is such a fight, isn’t it? But, I refuse to only see the work of the evil one. I am convinced, as was our brother, David, that “I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
So, I don’t know where you find yourself today, but “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” And, when you read optimism on this blog page, know that it was a gift given to a grumpy, miserable war wager.
“For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.”
(All verses are excerpts from Psalm 27)