« Day 32  |  Day 34 »

Day 33

Beyond Pessimism and Optimism

by René Schlaepfer

Read Titus 1:1-3

…a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time. [Titus 1:2]

During his time as a prisoner of the Nazis, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to a friend that he was neither a pessimist (expecting things to get worse) nor an optimist (expecting things to get better). He said that he was living by hope.

What’s the difference? Pessimists doubt anything good will happen. Optimists believe only good will happen. But a hopeful person is realistic: He acknowledges there may be immediate suffering — but ultimate reward.

Bonhoeffer knew what the early Christians knew: As long as I am alive, even in prison, God will use whatever happens to me for good (it happened for Bonhoeffer — his prison letters still inspire readers today); and even if I die, I am promised heaven… and the resurrection! When everything was stripped away from him, this hope is what remained, and what sustained him on a daily basis.

In today’s verses from Titus 1:1–3, Paul reminds Titus that our entire faith rests on hope; specifically the hope of eternal life God promised to us. It is the only thing that cannot be taken away from us, even in prison. This is sometimes forgotten by Christians who try to make their hope rest on other foundations.

Writing during the 2008 economic meltdown, Gordon MacDonald said:

God intends that Christians ask once again: “What is at the core of the real gospel that we may have forgotten during the days of prosperity?” May hopeful people relearn how to differentiate between the “city” of today and the enduring city that is to come. Such hope — liberally spread — could have revival proportions.

I agree. Do an honest self-evaluation: Does my faith rest solidly on the hope of eternal life?

Question to Consider

Am I a pessimist, an optimist, or am I living by hope? How can I live by hope in my expectations today?


Lord, help me today to live not as a pessimist or a blind optimist, but as a biblically optimistic, hopeful person!