There is absolutely nothing wrong with always looking on the bright side, but unbridled optimism which has been promoted in the past decade or so as the new elixir of life is just unrealistic. Unless you want to live in a fools paradise and consequently be periodically disappointed on a large scale, then drop optimism and return to the surer concepts of your faith. What does the Bible teach us about the right frame of mind in confronting the future?
The key word that keeps coming up in the scriptures is “confidence”. Proverbs 3.26 informs us that the Lord is our confidence and this is expanded by the apostles in numerous passages of the New Testament. See Hebrews 10.19 in particular and the words of Paul: “…we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.” Confidence in this biblical context is not the same as being optimistic about everything that you do. The confidence we have in the Lord is that he will guide our actions through good and bad and bring us ultimately to a safe harbour.
We have a tendency today to believe that we only have to want something and we can have it. This often leads to disappointment and frustration. The consumer society is great if it is treated with temperance. In all endeavours, there is a journey to undergo first and that journey is full of peril. This is a balanced and realistic view of life. It is not the same as saying that I am optimistic that everything I do, if I do it with a positive mental attitude, will turn out right, as some gurus have been saying over the years. Positive mental attitude in this sense suggests some kind of magic that links your positive thoughts to positive actions. There were millions of positive minded businessmen that had their hopes resting on the property market, but quickly had their hopes dashed. The affairs of men are not to be relied upon.
Confidence in the Lord on the other hand can be embraced like a sturdy rock in a storm. During the good times, rejoice and be thankful. But during the hard times, you have something to cling to. If you persevere with this even tempered approach, neither getting too excited at your good fortune, nor too despairing at the bad, but always with a steady reassurance of God’s comforting presence, you will sooner or later arrive at that Most Holy Place, which is the sweetness of the kingdom of heaven and eternal joy, always remembering that it is the blood of Jesus, his unswerving sacrifice on our behalf which has made this journey possible in the first place.