017 Optimism and the Death of a good man

Did you know that today is Good Friday? Arguably the most important day in the Christian calendar! Strange then that I have found myself thinking about optimism when my faith path leads me to the crucifixion today. Perhaps this is not as strange as you might think.

Optimists get a hard time these days: we are accused of being unrealistic in our thinking; we are told that life is not ‘pollyanna’ and that optimism is a mask for what’s happening underneath (Imagine the serene swan gracefully gliding down the river, while underneath the water they are paddling like crazy!!).

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Optimism is not about denying reality – it is about believing that good can come out of our sometimes harsh realities. I am no stranger to pain, death, loss and grumpiness. In life I have experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly, and understand the showdowns of life. Optimism is about seeing past the pain to healing. It is seeing hope in helplessness. And it is believing in better and rejecting the bitter.

Which leads me to the good guy suffering a gory death on a Roman cross, naked for all to see – what good could possibly come out of that?!

There’s this little verse in a letter to some Hebrews which says,

(Jesus)…who for the joy set before him endured the cross.

It seem Jesus was looking past the pain towards the joy of possibilities. The cross was not the end – it was THE means to an end. Jesus knew and believed that his death would result in new life for the countless millions who would choose to follow him back into relationship with God the Father (Did you know that one in every three humans on the planet claim to follow Jesus today?).

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Perhaps Jesus was an optimist. Perhaps he simply had faith in God to make all things new. Perhaps he didn’t even see the whole picture, but just somehow knew it would all work out for the good.

Whatever you are going through today, may you find strength in God and your own heart to look past the pain to see the possibilities of joy that are on the other side. And may God bless you with all you need to keep stepping forward one step, and one day, at a time.