By R.J. Evans
Optimism is defined as “an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and happenings or to anticipate the best possible outcome” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). To be successful in most any endeavor, we must look at the bright side with a spirit of optimism. The physician, the engineer, the accountant, and the lawyer are all successful because they made up their minds as to what they wanted to be, and then pursued that field with an optimistic attitude. Many are failures because they never make up their mind as to what they are going to do. Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth ” (Col. 3:2). We need to optimistically set our minds on the spiritual course that God has outlined for us. Some never do this. They remain in a constant state of indecision and never commit themselves to a responsible position in service to Christ.
The apostle Paul suffered so much for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned frequently, beaten, shipwrecked three times, often hungry, thirsty, cold and naked (2 Cor. 11:23-28). Yet, Paul was able to put the most favorable light on all these happenings, and “anticipated the best possible outcome.” He stated, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). It is indeed a remarkable thing, after all he suffered, that Paul called these afflictions light. I’m afraid that if we were suffering only a fraction of what he suffered, we would be inclined to call it a “dreadful load.” But the most severe tribulation and affliction are nothing compared with the glory awaiting us. Hence, Paul could be optimistic (and so can we, if we are faithful to God).
The Christian has so much for which to be thankful – redemption, forgiveness, joy, hope, contentment, peace Oust to mention a few). He also has something wonderful toward which to look forward – Heaven! Surely, this engenders optimism. We can have the attitude of Paul: “I can do all” things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). With the strength derived from the Lord, we can face everything in life with an optimistic spirit.
There is no adverse power greater or mightier than God. Therefore, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) When we contemplate all that is meant in this passage, a warm, secure feeling is produced in our hearts. How wonderfully bright things become! We may lose our relatives, our earthly friends, our health, but the Lord remains, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every work” (2 Cor. 9:8). If our faith is in God, knowing he is indeed able, we can and should have an optimistic outlook toward the various aspects of life. He has provided salvation (Acts 4:12). In time of temptation, he provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). In teaching and attempting to convert the lost, he gives the increase (I Cor. 3:7). When we die in the Lord, there is rest provided from out labors, and our works will follow us (Rev. 14:13). We could go on and on!
Let’s be optimistic! We have reason to be. Make the best of every situation, set your spiritual goals, and then, reach forward and achieve them! “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended.- but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 14, p. 429
July 21, 1988