“Because we’re part of the Body of Christ, we have the best reason of all to be optimistic every single day of our lives, in all circumstances; to truly be able to see the good things that await us, even in the midst of difficulties.”
Josh Raymond welcomed Father Bobby Blood back to The Inner Life to talk about why we as Christians are charged with living lives full of joy and hopefulness, even though the world is full of suffering and struggle.
Father Bobby began by defining just what optimism should mean in the context of living as followers of Christ. Simply enough, to be optimistic just means that one understands that “The world is ultimately good.” Often enough, people have this understanding that pessimism and optimism are personality traits. But if we understand that the world is ultimately good, our beliefs are put to the test when we experience something difficult. Do you truly believe in God’s goodness and His intention to take care of you? Or do you only trust Him when things are going well?
Josh pointed out the media’s longstanding philosophy of “If it bleeds, it leads” and how for many years now, our knowledge of public affairs has been dominated by negative information. If you turn on the news at any given time, chances are the journalists are covering the economic issues, the most recent mass shooting, problems with the healthcare industry, dangerous foreign powers, the drug epidemic, and natural disasters.
While it’s important that somebody keep the country abreast of the issues at hand, there’s a certain sensationalism that has become more prevalent that can draw our eyes away from God. No doubt, many things that happen in our world are tragic and horrendous, but we can’t turn a blind eye to them in an attempt to achieve blissful ignorance. Instead, Father Bobby suggests doing the opposite: Look at the bigger picture; zoom out. Find God’s will in all of this. Where is He acting to bring good out of this bad situation?
That begs the question: How do we find God in those moments? How do we avoid despair and hopelessness?
Father Bobby said that the first thing we have to avoid in difficult times is isolation. Our first instinct when we feel like we are suffering is to look inward and analyze our emotions and feelings. In reality, that’s our pride and ego urging us to feel bad for ourselves. It’s a defensive technique that allows us to justify our unnatural behavior. But, we are part of the Body of Christ. God has placed certain people around us for a reason. They are capable of dealing with us in a way that we cannot deal with ourselves.
Secondly, Father Bobby encouraged us to slow down. When the world directs you to forsaken things, take stock of all the good things that you have. Count your blessings and express gratitude to God who, through the midst of everything, has found a way to provide for you. Instead of indulging this mentality that you have gone through so much and how life has been so hard for you, showing thanksgiving for your things can show you that God will continue to provide and take care of you.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
When you have trouble living with optimism, hope, and Christian joy, it may be worthwhile to look at what type of life you’ve been living. Are you truly carrying on as a member of the Body of Christ? Are you in the state of grace? Are you actively curating virtuous living in your home, with your family and friends, at work or school, and in public? If so, you should have nothing to worry about. We are members of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church and so we have the best reason to live as optimists, for salvation is promised to us.
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