In my first blog, almost two years ago, I introduced myself to you as an OPTIMISTIC OCTOGENARIAN. I’ve always thought of myself in those terms. I’m the one who makes lemonade out of lemons, and I see the glass half full instead of half empty. “Nothing is ever as bad as it seems” “It will be better tomorrow. “ We can do something to fix this.”
I have been accused of being out of touch with reality because I refuse to see the hopeless side of things. BUT—I must confess—lately, I have found myself questioning my own outlook.
Truth is the last five and one-half years have been the most stressful, traumatic time in my life—without a breather. I have written about all of this, so I will not bore you with the details.
First, there was the unimaginable excitement and stress of marrying at an advanced age, then after only a few months, the death of my husband, and the unbearable grief that followed. When I could finally function again, I was confronted with my sister’s needs. Things that seemed simple have become so complicated. Nothing has gone smoothly. There is one crisis after another, and I am tired. There is always a knot in the pit of my stomach and I live with a sense of uneasiness, and at the same time, I live with a sense of hope that “this, too, shall pass.”
So, am I truly an optimist or have I been depending on my own innate strength. I am a strong person. I know that! I’ve always been able to solve the problem in some way. No more! I am, now, at the mercy of others.
Is it true? Have I, like the proverbial ostrich, been burying my head in the sand refusing to face reality? If so, I find myself reluctant to admit it. (By the way, the ostrich does not bury his head in the sand.)
In my moments of quiet contemplation, trying my best to understand all of this, I realize that my optimism springs from my relationship with God.
Everyone, whether Saint or outright heathen, suffers difficult problems. Many others face impossible, unsolvable situations. How do they cope? No wonder the suicide rate is increasing, and mental institutions are crowded with hopeless souls.
Realizing that my optimism is inextricably linked with my faith raises another question. When optimism wavers, where does the fault lie? Is my faith also wavering?
The Apostle Paul, in Philippians 4:6, told the people that they were “to be anxious for nothing.” Then he gave them the cure for anxiety, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Still, I am anxious, which seems to say that I distrust God’s power and wisdom, and doubt the reality of His promises. Yet, I know that is not true. I do trust Him. That is the reason I keep coming back.
Of course, I pray, and others pray with me. The problem lies in the fact that I know He hears me, but I don’t know, yet, what He is doing about it. Could my impatience be part of the issue?
I have a way of wanting God to do it right now. But, perhaps He is using this period to teach me a grand lesson—a lesson in patience.
In Luke 21, Jesus speaks to His followers about the terrible trials that will come in the last days, but He says, “Don’t worry for not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your faith and patience, you shall have eternal life.”
James 1:3-4 says, “…the testing of your faith produces patience…that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
LACKING NOTHING! WOW! That surely puts a shot into the arm of my optimism. Lacking nothing must mean that one day soon, I hope, all these awful, strength-sapping trials will be behind me. I will heave a great sigh of relief and dance a joyful jig, and try to ward off the next onslaught.
I have been learning Christ all my life. These years of pain have only served to reemphasize the truths already learned. I KNOW that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. I KNOW that He surrounds me with His loving care. I KNOW that His Spirit indwells me and upholds me. I KNOW that He will cause me to triumph, and enable me to be faithful until death.
IN HIM I LACK NOTHING!
This truth ought to elicit a torrent of Thanksgiving.
If that isn’t optimism, I don’t know what is…
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!