Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hope vs Optimism

I was reading today in preparation for a devotional in our office meeting. Henri Nouwen says that many people confuse joy with optimism. They are very different. Optimism is the confidence that tomorrow is going to be better than today. Contrast that with hope. Hope results from the faith that God will be with us, no matter what happens tomorrow.

Too often, I think, we assume that hope is optimism. We place our hope in the idea that tomorrow will be better. That's not always the case. Sometimes tomorrow is no better, or is even worse. Tomorrow may bring healing and good news, or it may not. It may bring death and crisis. I enjoy being optimistic, but I place my hope in God.

Faith in God results in real hope. Hope that says that God is present -- even if the worst happens.

A pair of friends of ours at church lost their adult daughter a few years ago to cancer. Their daughter told them that not matter what happened -- death or healing -- that it would be OK. That's hope. That's confidence in God, not in a happy ending.



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