Devotion for May 25, 2022 from Pastor Tim Huff of Holy Trinity:
Lately I have been calling the upcoming months “A Summer of Change.” I realize all of our lives are filled with change, but it seems the last few years have seen an incredible amount of change and challenges and I don’t see that letting up for summer. We have changes in health, employment, finances, relationships, families and even in our churches!
So, how will we experience these changes? With joy or dread? With worry and fear or excitement and anticipation? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
Hope is the sun. It is light. It is passion. It is the fundamental force
for life’s blossoming. (Daisaku Ikeda)
Optimism is “the tendency to expect the best possible outcome or to dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.” Optimists usually feel that “good things” will happen in the future or that what they hope and dream for will happen.
By nature, most people tend toward either optimism or pessimism, regardless of their relationship with God. Everyone’s glass is either “half full” or “half empty.” So, optimism is not necessarily the same as faith in God. It can be a natural personality trait that has nothing to do with faith.
Biblical optimism is the result of faith in the character and promises of God. The Bible refers to this as “hope.”
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. (Romans 15:13)
When we hope in God, we put our trust in God’s vision and plan above what our circumstances tell us.
“So, I charge you: be strong; be courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
God asks for Joshua to not fear or be dismayed because Joshua and Israel have in front of them a lot of challenges as they cross over into the Promised Land. God promises that God goes with them into their new future as God goes with us.
When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door
in the face of God. (Charles L. Allen)
Optimists do not ignore the difficulties; they are keenly aware of them. But the knowledge of God’s presence prevents them from becoming discouraged or giving up. It is impossible to stand in the presence of God and be a pessimist!
No Christian can be a pessimist, for Christianity is a system of radical optimism. (William Ralph Inge)
Regardless of what may happen in this life, we know that God sees, cares, and will “wipe every tear from our eyes.” That confidence can give us an optimistic outlook, even in difficult circumstances. Godly hope helps us look beyond what we understand to view life from God’s perspective.
Hope is being able to see that there is a light despite all the darkness. (Desmond Tutu)
Optimism is a choice. When we choose to trust God for everything, we can rest in God’s promises to take care of us.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)
God designed us to live with hope.
I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. (Nelson Mandela)
Knowing that we have a loving heavenly Creator who desires to care for us and provide for us should give us a reason for true optimism
Today, make this promise to yourself and keep it: vow to be a hope-filled Christian. Think optimistically about your life, your profession, your family, and your future. Trust your hopes, not your fears. Take time to celebrate God’s glorious creation. And then, when you’ve filled your heart with hope and gladness, share your optimism with others. They’ll be better for it, and so will you. (Steve Arterburn)
During this “Summer of Change” will we be optimistic, hopeful, enthusiastic? As Children of God, we have every reason to be optimistic about life here on earth and life eternal.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. (Jack Layton)
Hope-filled by God’s Love,