In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1
Is there any room for optimism today? That may depend on your definition of optimism. If you see it as looking for a black cat in a dark room, or feeling for a light switch that has been removed, originally connected to a burned‑out bulb, I guess there is not room for much optimism today, but if you believe that it is still God—not chance or fate—who is in control of our universe, there is still room for hope. When we look beyond the headlines and read the last chapter, we come to understand that the scope of God's power can be brought to bear on the difficulties of life whether they are national or personal.
If God created the world and then went back to heaven somewhere out there and left us to our own destruction, there would be no room for any kind of optimism today. But if God, who created our world, is interested in the affairs of my life as the Bible says, then I have to understand that the planet of my life is not on a wild collision course with fate.
The Bible says that God’s power can change the hearts and lives of people, and that is one of the reasons that there is a Christian optimism born of faith in God no matter how dark the storm clouds. The Good News is that God never gives up on people! "If anyone is in Christ," wrote Paul, "he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The second reason that there is an optimism born of faith is that the Bible declares that God, not chance, is the ultimate reality. Nearly a hundred years before Enrico Fermi and his colleagues learned how to split the atom, a French scientist wrote in his diary, "The time will come when man will not only split the atom, but that the energy of the sun itself will be harnessed. When that time comes, God will come down and say, 'Gentlemen, it is time to close up shop.'" Decades have passed since man split the atom, and God still has not come and said, "It is time to close up shop," but the Bible says that one day He will say, "Enough! Gabriel, blow your trumpet!" Then Jesus Christ will return to our earth even as He came the first time. Christianity contends for the ultimate triumph of God and good in the world‑‑not evil! No matter how dark the hour, the last chapter in the history of humankind has not yet been written.
Reason number three that there is an optimism born of faith is that a believer has a motive first for accepting others as they are because God has accepted him or her! This means that the barriers which separate can be broken down.
I sat in a restaurant and listened to a conversation between two men‑‑one a Christian and the other an agnostic. The agnostic was tearing the Christian apart for some of the things he believed, and the Christian sat there, taking the verbal abuse, not quite sure what to answer. Finally, I leaned over and spoke to the agnostic: "Excuse me, sir!" I said. "I could not help overhearing your conversation, and I would like to ask you a question if you do not mind." "Surely," he replied, "go ahead."
Then gesturing toward his friend, I said, "Suppose this man is wrong and there is no God, no heaven or hell. What has he lost?" He thought for a moment and then said, "Well, I suppose nothing...." Then I said, "But just suppose he is right, what have you lost?" After a moment he said, "I never thought of it like that...." An agnostic by the name of E.C. M. Joad began to think of it like that and changed his mind because there is an optimism born of faith.
Resource reading: Psalm 103:1-22