“Help, O LORD, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth!” Psalm 12:1 NLT
One look at the glass determined my perspective.
The illustration has age but holds validity. What I classify a glass partially filled with liquid determines whether or not I’m an optimist or pessimist-and determines how I view life. Seeing it half full makes me an optimist. Seeing it half empty classifies me as a pessimist. Being the pessimist requires little effort. Being an optimist takes work.
The list of apparently negative things that have entered my life is lengthy: preacher’s kid, divorce, financial meltdown, broken family, rebellious children, unemployment, false accusations, rejection, betrayal. How I view those unfortunate circumstances determines whether or not I’m an optimist or pessimist.
Listening to the psalmist’ statement, he appears as a pessimist. He needed help. In his eyes, the godly were vanishing. He doesn’t say what made him think so. Perhaps it involved his perspective.
As when the prophet Elisha’s servant awoke to find himself and his master surrounded by enemy forces. Elisha prayed for God to give his servant a proper perspective-and He did. “The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:17).
God wants optimists in His service, not pessimists. But how do we get there? By remembering God is omnipotent-all-powerful. In the twenty-first century, young people are leaving the churches by the thousands. Traditional religion that has no impact on people’s lives disgusts them. The picture may appear bleak, but Jesus reminds us that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. While many leave American churches, thousands flock to church in other countries.
When it appears I can’t face the dire circumstances assaulting me, God gives me strength and wisdom to walk through them. He promises to walk by my side, that He will never leave or forsake me. He never leaves me alone. God’s Spirit-God Himself-resides in me continually.
It truly is a matter of perspective. How we look at life determines whether we’re a pessimist or an optimist. When we look at it from God’s viewpoint, we can’t help but discover optimism. And when our outlook changes, so will how we face it.
Be an optimist. God controls your life. Face it in His strength. You’ll be amazed at how things change.
Prayer: Father, enable us to view life from Your perspective.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA