I tend to be pessimistic about the future. It’s sort of a whiplash result of my internal idealism—I can always imagine perfection (be it for the moment, day, or year) and reality never measures up—hence the ever-churning game to get ahead of my own expectations to be ready to accept whatever life throws at me.
But I think there is a sort of sinfulness to pessimism. Because (while there is a truth to be acknowledged that we live in a fallen world), an everyday pessimism is, after all, looking at what God gives you and saying “it wasn’t good.” And I admit I have all too often found myself stealing myself against joy and love out of fear of what might be taken away.
The ladies in my church have been learning in Ecclesiastes this year about the gifts God gives—that it is not just comfort and companionship and good honest labor that are gifts from God but the ability to enjoy them at all. That enjoyment and contentment in what God has given you is itself His gift.
I find myself convicted by how many times I have slapped away the joy of His gifts because I knew they might not be permanent. Have you ever felt this way? Aren’t you sometimes heart-frozen by the fear that loved ones, or a job or house, or children, or the future, or friendships might disappear—or maybe even simply not turn out as good as you hoped they will be?
Such striving when He calls us to rest.
This is, after all, a not trusting His Goodness. It is believing the Evil One’s lie that He is not Good. That He won’t be Good in the future. Or that if temporal things were taken away He would not be Enough for us, sufficient for me.
And the silly thing about it all is that He has been so so so so Good to me all my life. He has never given me reason to doubt His goodness and only a thousand reasons to trust in His tender loving care. And even in the darkest of times: He has been enough.
And so as this New Year begins I am attempting, by His Grace, to take my pessimism and fear to His throne of love and lay it at His feet. To proclaim thankfulness for the gifts He has given me one day at a time: knowing and trusting that He knows exactly what is best and good every step of the way.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:6)