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Why We Should Be Optimists

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

An image of a person standing on a sandbar over a calm lake, with the colors of the sunset reflected in the water.

If you were going to climb Mount Everest, would you pick a guide who had already completed the climb or someone who had read a lot of books about it? If it were my life on the line, I’d go for the guy who had actually succeeded in making the climb. That’s why I place great stock in the words of the apostle Paul.  Why? Because by his own account he experienced imprisonment, whipping, beating, stoning, shipwreck, hunger, nakedness, and persecution in his commitment to live for Christ.

Despite these hardships and more to come, Paul’s writings are bursting with optimism about the future.

Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).

He proclaims that anyone who belongs to Christ can look forward not simply to winning a few battles but to experiencing “overwhelming victory.” The odds, as Paul sees it, are completely in his favor—and ours.

Note that Paul prefaces this promise with the phrase “despite all these things.” Just prior to the passage above, he speaks of the long list of troubles and calamities he faced. But Christ had already been so faithful to Paul in the midst of these challenges that he had no doubt about the future.

Why not join me today in taking Paul as your guide, memorizing this passage from the book of Romans? Hide it in your heart and let it strengthen you so that when calamity threatens, you will remember that nothing in heaven or on earth can ever separate you from God’s love.

 
Originally published May 25, 2017.

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