A man lazily leans against his front porch post, watching the first pastels of a Sunday dawn appear. With a cup of coffee cradled in his hands, he gazes out in the distance at the black cloud of summer rain releasing its contents on the nearby field as it inches in his direction.
As he shakes his head, the pessimist in him envisions the rain prodding the grass to multiply and needing to be cut and also flooding the basement yet again. And I’m not going to church when it’s raining, he mumbles.
On the other side of town, another man stands at his kitchen window, anticipating the buzzer to let him know his cup of tea is finished brewing and awaits his first sip. He’s watching the same summer storm pour down where he lives.
As a gardener, this optimist envisions in that drenching rain the immerging beauty of God’s world: bursting fields of windblown grains, swaying tree branches dressed in their best green frock and filled with feathered choralists, and summer blossoms permeating the air with their fragrance. And he won’t let the rain deter him from going to church.
Two friends, bundled up against the nippy cold, walk on a crowded sidewalk along a downtown street in their city. While others mindlessly scurry by, these two notice the same scene: the unfortunate homeless lying in the doorways and back alleys, huddling in cardboard boxes, trying to keep warm in the depths of winter’s frost, while some sit shivering on the sidewalk as beggars desperate for alms.
One friend, the pessimist, sees all this and complains, “What a horrible sight! These people are cluttering up the streets and sidewalks of our beautiful city. We need to get rid of them. Move them somewhere where they can’t be seen.”
The other friend, an optimist, sees it all and says, “Yes, these people are unfortunate, but what a great opportunity to help, to give them a chance to get back on their feet by showing them the love of God. Who knows, maybe this could happen to you. Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?”
While a young woman sits on her cold, hard tile floor, her head between her knees, leaning her body against the porcelain waste receptacle, which she thinks is an apt analogy of her life, her soul sags in a scalding desert circumstance.
The pessimist in her says, “I’m going to be in this desert situation forever. How did I get here? What’s wrong with me? Nothing ever good happens in my life. Why can’t I…When will I…”
But there’s an optimistic side in her that says, “Lord, I thank You that You never leave me, that You hear my cries, and that You love me. God, what do You desire me to learn in this time of heartache and pain? How do I portray trust in You to others while I’m in this situation? Comfort me and give me peace that I may use what I’m going through to help another. Give me those sudden springs of living water for me to draw from and guide me to the other side of this. Amen!”
What do we cull from each of these scenarios?
1) seeing into the unseen, where God is working
“Faith…gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Heb. 11:1 NLT)
2) give to show the love of God
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 NKJV)
3) trust God in those desert times
“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Ps. 37:5 NKJV)
Which one are you: the pessimist or the optimist?
Blessings of optimism…Lynn