Romans 8:28, Psalm 100:5, Psalm 119:68, Psalm 23, 2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Luke 14:26

Glyn Barrett considers the importance of keeping your eyes on Who is with you through life's circumstances.

Glyn Barrett
Glyn Barrett

'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.' (Romans 8:28)

I love how the verse says 'God works for THE good'! Not just any good but THE good. We know that the Bible says God is good (Psalm 100:5), and because He is good, He can only DO GOOD (Psalm 119:68). So when Romans says THE GOOD, it's because that's all God can do. He can only bring good. He looks at our sorrow, pain, and challenging circumstances and intervenes on behalf of good.

I am an optimist, it is the way I have chosen to look at life. A pessimist is someone who is always focusing on the negative thing. An optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole! Pessimists are the sort of people who feel bad when they feel good, for fear of feeling worse when they feel better! Pessimists never get disappointed because they never get their hopes up! But it is never the pessimist who sails to uncharted lands, or makes great discoveries, or takes the human imagination and spirit to a whole new realm! Simply put, an optimist is someone who is hopeful and positive about future outcomes.

The word 'optimism' comes from the French word meaning the 'best thing'. I love this thought. Imagine living life for the 'best thing'. Imagine thinking as a single person, "I'm going to marry the best person" and going through life thinking, "I'm going to have the best job". What a brilliant way to live! Yes, I admit, thinking 'optimistically' may set you up to be disappointed occasionally, but better to raise the bar on your expectations and see growth and expansion in life, at the risk of being disappointed, than never believing to see greater things to come! Better to live believing for THE GOOD, instead of anticipating the alternative.

The Bible talks about the need for us to live optimistically. Call it what you like, maybe in church you have heard it worded as 'faith'. I believe that as Christians, we should not only live inspired lives, but optimistic lives; believing for THE GOOD! However, no matter how much you believe for the good and that God will bring good out of every circumstance, the reality is that things get tough. When you set off to pursue a dream, it isn't long before you come to realise that life is not always easy.

Sometimes our dreams can be like riding a bike downhill, we start out standing on top of a hill looking forward thinking, "this is going to be great!" and your thoughts are fuelled by your view. Like riding a bike, you start riding downhill and it's pretty to be optimistic. However, before you get to the bottom of the hill, you better start pedalling because after the bottom there is hill to climb! I don't think it is pessimistic to know that sometimes on the journey of life you go uphill. Part of believing for THE GOOD is realising that life still has its challenges. It was David that said, 'Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.' (Psalm 23). God is calling us to live lives of inspiration and optimism.

I have learnt that during this time your breakthrough can be found in what you say, or often what you don't say. You can HEAR when people around you are going uphill, their language changes! All of a sudden the person who was once so bright and optimistic has reached a difficult time and their language changes from faith filled, to a language of difficulties, problems and pessimism.

I have been in church leadership for over 20 years, and I can think of numerous times when I saw the lives of friends, colleagues and leaders start to spiral downwards when their language changed. Why do people get pessimistic, negative and bitter? Why do we speak doom and gloom over the season we are in or have been through? Did we think it was always going to be easy? For some mistaken reason, Christian folk have begun to equate 'ease' with the purposes of God. The Bible prepares us to understand it is not always going to be easy.

'We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.' (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)

'If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple.' (Luke 14:26)

I don't know about you, but these passages don't sound that easy!

David got it right when he was in the valley of the shadow of death. His focus wasn't on the valley, it was on who was with him. 'For you God are with me!' (Psalm 23)

So if God is good, and He is with you, then no matter can believe and speak out THE GOOD. Get ready for THE GOOD. It's on the way. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.