Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Love Lifted Me"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 1:16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." (ESV)
The day came to seek consultation for a lingering health issue that is not of the life-and-death category, but is nevertheless disabling and life-changing, causing limitations. Arthritis is well known to many who silently suffer in its grip. A friend of mine is a fellow arthritis sufferer who keeps much of it to herself. When I begin to complain in my small distress, she is frequently able to share an optimistic joke. Something about her also reveals her faith in God that is contagious, and one draws optimism from her outlook on faith.
Job 11:16 – You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. (NIV)
I began to draw a picture of pessimism and optimism. Those words had come early to my vocabulary as a measuring tape for life. We are one or the other, easily falling to the negative, but not so easily rising to the positive.
The biblical approach to faith in God does not allow one to be pessimistic. Negative emotions, like fear, worry, and guilt, sap our energy and drag us down. Where God is involved, we can only look up and be filled with hope.
Isaiah 30:18 – Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all are who wait for Him! (NIV 2011)
Job 12:10 – In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of mankind. (NIV)
We are given a choice between being people who are negatively in darkness with unbelief and pessimism, and people who are positively in the light of salvation and solidly optimistic in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the whole world!
It is a good thing that we do not get what we deserve when we approach God through Jesus Christ, Who suffered beating, rejection, and death in our place! Our praise is for the power of the cross, as Christ, the Lamb of God, Who became sin for us, sets us free from the consequences of sin.
Who could help but be optimistic!
Prayer: Merciful God, teach us the right way. Speak to us in sickness and in health. Keep us from lingering in pessimism. We are not immune to sin, and we thank You, God, for the Lamb Who takes away our sin. We are thankfully praying in Your saving name. Amen!