By Bob Tamasy
Have you ever known someone who had a disease or a disability, but who had the most cheerful personality and seemed gifted at seeing the good things in life? It’s confusing and inspiring at the same time, isn’t it?
In his book “Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,” Michael J. Fox talked about his personal optimism despite battling Parkinson’s Disease, and explored possible roots of optimism.
Why are some people optimistic, he wondered, while others are pessimistic? Or putting it another way, why do some individuals see glasses as half-full, while others see them as half-empty? A friend of mine describes himself as a “optimistic pessimist”: “I’m positive things are going to get worse,” he explains.
In the documentary, Fox interviewed optimistic people, consulted with psychologists, even visited Buhtan, “the happiest country in the world.” He mentioned “faith,” but the faith he described basically believes “everything works out for the best,” or as some would phrase it, “It’s all good, man.”
I’m also optimistic, but my attitude has a more specific basis. It’s not confidence in myself, because I know how often I have failed others – including myself. I’m not confident in mankind, because every day we hear about how wretched, mean and self-centered people can be – and I see no evidence things are getting better.
My optimism is grounded in unwavering faith in God and His perfect, sovereign plan for His creation, including me. When He declares, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11), I believe it.
And when He says, “do not fear, for I am with you, and do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) that means despite a troubled economy, health challenges, or any of life’s many other terrors, He’s in control.
With promises like that filling the Bible, why not be optimistic?
Think and pray
Optimism is not seeing everything as good. It’s knowing with certainty that what is good will ultimately prevail.
Lord, I don’t like what I see happening in the world around me, but I know You to be a God who keeps His promises, and I know your promises are good for those who love You. Help me to draw my security from you, and let that confidence be evident in the way I respond to the crises around me. Amen.
Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, most recently Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC's Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Disciplemaking (90th Anniversary Edition) that is now available on Amazon. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.