How does one see through such lens when there is so much turmoil around us? I will certainly not claim this to be easy. If anything, it is a challenging endeavor. Did you notice that I said nothing about a lens of positivity or optimism? Rather, I am speaking of a pair of hope-filled lens and these lenses are quite different.
Would you like to learn what it means to be a hope-filled realist? If you’re an optimist, this article will still be of use to you; especially in tough time. Contrary to popular myths, a realist does not automatically make you into a pessimist. It just mean that you see the reality of a situation. It means that you have a choice.
Will you choose the path of criticism and negativity? Will you see the reality of a situation and say, “It does not have to be this way! Let’s find a hopeful solution and move forward!” What path will you choose?
Jesus never told his disciples to look through a pair of rose-colored lenses or to have the opposite extreme; a pair of lenses that see only negativity. The key is often in our responses to troubles and tribulations. Here’s what Jesus says in John 16:32-33:
32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:32-33 [NIV]
In the more literal translations, the word, “tribulations” is used. I checked the underling Greek word and the original Greek covers a good range of variation. Some variations are dramatic and other variations are not on that scale. In each case, it is not the end of the world. If you like, you can learn about it on the Blue Letter Bible site. Here is a direct link to G2347 on their site.
Here’s where hope comes into the picture. Yes, Jesus, Paul, Peter and James did warn about trouble coming and that the disciples will encounter suffering. However, we are not to lose hope in our situation. Did you read the above quote? Jesus says that God, the Father is with him; even though the twelve disciples would soon abandon him.
In Hebrew 12:2, we are told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For you and I, it is how you choose to respond to the situation. It is also worth noticing that Jesus asked the Father to forgive his tormentors. For they know not what they are doing.
I have some good news, for you. We are not alone in the troubles that we face. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus makes this promise, “… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This promise is not limited to the sharing the Gospel. It applies to our daily lives, too. In John 14:17-19, Jesus says that the believers would not be left as orphans. Rather, we’d be given the gift of the Holy Spirit.
17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.John 14:17-19 NASB
Why am I saying all of this? How is this related to seeing things in as a hope-filled realist? Because I follow Jesus, I know that I’m not alone. It is because of what Jesus has done, I don’t have to worry about God being angry at me because of real and imagined sins. The real ones have been paid for through the blood of Christ. The imagined ones are lies that have been demolished.
Because of what Jesus has done, I can look forward to what is written about in Hebrews 4:15-16.
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 14:15-16 NASB
This truth is only the first step in learning to have a hope-filled view of the world around you. Because we live in a fallen world, trouble will inevitably come. However, we don’t have to live in despair or fill our hearts with anxiety about what may come.
What is the next step? I gave you a hint in the above quote. In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul spells it out for you and I. It’s to be done with prayers. Here’s what Paul says:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-7 NASB
You can begin with something simple like “Father, I thank you for being an ever-present help in my trouble. I can definitely use it, right now. Please help.”. I think that you get the idea. Humility is often the key; even if you do have an idea. Just invite God to come and help you.
How can I speak so confidently? It is because I spend time in God’s Word, worship and prayers. It also helps to be with fellow believers in Christ. It is through this; I came to learn of the many promises of God that can be found throughout Scriptures. From what I understand, there are 8000 promises of God and they range on a variety of topics.
Here is a direct link to a FREE e-book called “The Book of Bible Promises” by the folks at https://www.georgemueller. It’s a good starting point. Ask the Holy Spirit to point you to the right promises. Of course, this is not a substitute for reading your Bible or listening to an audio version.
As I learned that God is for me and not against me, it then become easier to ask for a Heavenly perspective and God’s solution. I have done this even when I already have an idea. It’s because I am learning to trust God’s wisdom more than my own. It also involves learning to trust God in all situations; even if I don’t have a clue.
Am I saying that I never vented out my frustration about someone? I have done just that, over the years. Guess what? It never once led to a solution or helped with my problems. Even worse, the problem was still there and unresolved. It is for this reason that I’m encouraging you to seek God’s answer and not just complain about your trouble.
Here is another step in learning to see things from a hope-filled perspective. It does not mean that you ignore reality. I am visually impaired and can’t drive a car, in real live. I would be a danger to everyone on the road. As such, I have a choice to seek solutions to my physical limitations. I am thankful for grocery delivery services and ride services like Uber & Lyft.
I would not have bothered to look into such services if I had a critical view of my situation. If anything, I would have spent my time criticizing and complaining on the Internet. Guess what? Nobody would have given a crap and nothing would have gotten solved. Even worse, no one is helped by such a tactic of blaming others and complaining.
A hope-filled realist sees that there is a problem and seek to invite others to help solve the issue. Here’s the problem. I can use help in solving it. The hope-filled realist knows that he or she needs to be proactive when a problem arises. Of course, it does help to invite Jesus into the situation. The opposite method will simply send people packing for the nearest exit.
It’s now time for a touch of humor. As a hope-filled realist, I am fully aware of your skimming through this article. Hopefully, you found some nuggets that is of value to you. I will continue to encourage you to talk to Jesus about what you’re reading here or elsewhere. How can I be so certain about the skimming?
You have to take in what’s appropriate for you. The same thing would have applied to me. I am writing this article for people at different levels in their walk with Jesus. I would love to hear how you’re doing with what I have been writing.
One thought on “Learning To See Through a Hope Filled Lens in Tough Times”
Indeed to be a realist does not automatically make you into a pessimist.
This is powerful!