November 20, 2020

Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.  Psalm 43:5

I generally consider myself an optimist. I start each day excited about what can be accomplished or experienced. Yes, I pack an umbrella and carry a sweater when we travel. Living with Boy Scouts has taught me to embrace the “be prepared” motto. So, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I am cautiously optimistic about life.

In his book Learned Optimism, Dr. Martin Seligman describes pessimists and optimists this way: Pessimists tend to believe that bad events will last for a long time, undermine everything they do and are seen as being their own fault.

Optimists believe that defeat is a temporary setback and its causes are confined to the one case. They are unfazed by defeat; they see it as a challenge and try harder.

Trouble and difficulty will help you figure out which you are, optimist or pessimist.

Worldly optimism is not necessarily based on faith in God. Many unbelievers simply refuse to worry because life is easier that way. “Don’t worry; be happy” is their motto.

Biblical optimism, however, comes from faith in the character of God. The Bible tells us unequivocally that God is a God of love and has designed us to live in hope. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Optimism is a choice. When we choose to trust God in everything, we can rest in His promises. In faith we can move through the trials of life with confidence and hope.

Kim Atchison

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