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Why Christians Should Not Be Optimists – Part 2

By Akos Balough

2) Christians Are Called to Have ‘Hope’

Eternal hope, as opposed to worldly hope.

McKay and many others are right to look at this world, and realistically examine what’s wrong with it.

But the Bible doesn’t just leave us with a picture of reality. 
It also promises that things will turn out for the best – just not in this lifetime.

Even in the midst of the catastrophe that is ‘the fall’, God promises humanity a ‘serpent crusher’ that will crush Satan’s head (Gen 3:15). And soon that promise starts to be fulfilled: from the call of Abram in Genesis 12, culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of God’s own Son – the ultimate serpent crusher.

And so, things will turn out for the best: if we have been reconciled to God through Jesus, things will turn out right for us, in the end. But it will only happen when we enter into the fullness of resurrection life: a new Creation, in the presence of our God and Father, forever.

And so, we don’t need to live with the rose-coloured glasses of worldly optimism, pretending that things are better in this world than they really are. Instead, we can face this world in all its awfulness, and grieve even as we have a secure hope:

• We will be healed one day of that chronic illness;
• One day, our wheelchair bound bodies will rise and walk; 
• Our marital problems will be fixed, when all relationships are restored and made whole;
• Our cancer ridden bodies will be restored;
• The problem of aging will be solved;
• Death itself will be a thing of the past. 
• There will be world peace, such as humanity has never known. 
• We won’t suffer any persecution for our faith.

Christians shouldn’t be optimists – thinking that things will more than likely turn out for the best in this world (although in God’s grace, things may well turn out better than we deserve). But Christians should have hope – confidence in our eternal inheritance that will soon be ours (1 Peter 1:3-4).

And that’s worth putting our confidence in.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)

[1] While optimism can also mean ‘looking on the positive side of life’, I limit optimism in this post to ‘the confidence that things will turn out well in this world.’ – See