Optimistic About The God Who Optimizes

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This morning I watched and listened to my friend Chuck Moore, pastor of First Baptist Church of Savoy/Champaign, Illinois, deliver his Palm Sunday message. Chuck is an exceptional preacher, even when he’s speaking in the midst of his office with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the wall behind him.

He talked about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on that Sunday, just five days before He was to be nailed to the cross.

But then he brought in Psalm 46 and the scriptures that tell us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” and “the Lord Almighty is with us!” (Psalm 46:1 and 7)

There is a deep sigh of relief from me as I read those words. They tell me that I worship One who is an intimate part of the journey with me. He is the One who looks to make the best of any situation.

Most of my friends see me as being an optimist. I usually look for the good in a person or a difficult circumstance. In the midst of this pandemic, there are other followers of Jesus who see this as an indication of the judgment of God. They seem to rush to wrath, like angry out-of-control parents at their kids’ athletic contests who want to inflict bodily harm on the officials.

My spiritual optimism leads me to hold onto some of those Psalm 46 words and phrases like “refuge”, “strength”, and He’s “with us”. I lead heavily toward the grace of God. Ephesians 2:6-7 comforts me, where Paul writes “…And God raised us up with Christ…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Hmmm! Grace…kindness…refuge…strength.

One of the characteristics of the early church was its benevolent spirit. The grace of God seemed to result in gracious people. The hope of God was echoed in the hope-filled communities of faith. The kindness of God flowed into kindhearted servants.

In perilous times it is far easier to be pessimists and doomsday prophets than helping hands and encouraging voices. May we remember that Jesus walked through the darkness of death before walking out of the tomb into life.

Be a blessing!

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