God is an Optimist
by Bishop John W. Hanson.
God is an optimist. I know this because He believes in me and He gives me opportunities that I know I can’t handle on my own. I know this because He gives me hopes and dreams that I know I don’t deserve and that I cannot fulfill. I know He is an optimist because His Word declares a world-wide awakening before He returns, and He describes heaven filled with multitudes of people.
If we allow God to be our primary influencer, we can be optimists as well. Life is tough, bad things happen, and people can be cruel, but believers can still live an abundant life, because God helps them see things from a heavenly point of view. When God fuels our thinking instead of friends on Facebook, talking heads in the so-called news, celebrities, educators and politicians, then our life will be empowered and steered by heaven rather than being pulled and jostled by earth.
Letting God help us navigate life can be compared to the international system of air traffic control. Consider how dangerous and confusing it would be if every plane tried to talk with every other plane within a few hundred miles, trying to work out a safe flight plan and a successful landing. The solution is to have every plane with a certain area communicate with a control tower. When every pilot gets their direction from a Air Traffic Controller that sees every other plane in the area, everyone can fly safely.
People who are in a serious relationship with God soon learn that God wants to speak into their life. He uses books, sermons, and people. But God’s primary means of communication is through the Bible and personal times of prayer. Those who learn to have two -way conversations with God can then operate their life fueled by God’s love and optimism. They will discover that God is restorative, graceful, patient, gentle and hopeful. This is more than typical optimism which relies on trying to have a glass-half-full mentality. This is an optimism that can see the challenges and injustices of life from heaven’s point of view. This is not just believing good things will happen. This is believing in a good God and a good outcome even when bad things happen.
I have often made the mistake of taking advice from earth instead of heaven. I have let people and circumstances bum me out. The antidote to this is communication with God – prayer. Prayer allows heaven to drive instead of earth. Talking to, and hearing from, God gives perspective. Releasing stress to God allows peace. Repenting to God eradicates guilt. While a believer’s path may take them through life-changing disasters, when God is navigating, the believer can be confident and joyful in their journey. Daily staff meeting with God (prayer, reading, listening, worshipping) and regular conversations with spiritual leaders are powerful disciplines that help believers see life from heaven’s point of view
Often in difficult times people will quote Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” But that scripture goes on to say, “to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The point being that we can be optimists when we buy in to God’s way of life, because God’s way will ultimately lead to everlasting life. I can be an optimist because I have hitched my car to God’s train, and He is and optimist.