Pessimism or Optimism?

The 53rd Psalm can be taken as either pessimistic or optimistic.  It begins with a rather pessimistic view of men; there’s nobody doing right and ends with the hope of salvation.

Salvation has come in the person of Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross…

The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God.” 
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven 
    on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand, 
    any who seek God.

(Psalm 53:1-2)

These first two verses set up the context: People don’t believe God, and the result is that they don’t behave well.  God looks down on the earth to see if there is anyone who seeks Him.  In the Psalm verses three and four are quite pessimistic; nobody is seeking Him and nobody is righteous; there is nothing but dread.  The last two verses reveal that this will be corrected and that God and His people will prevail against evil… but this was written in David’s day!

If we would go back to the first two verses today what would God see?

The simple answer is that He would see a dark world full of “fools” who deny His existence.  He would see a plague of evil and lies that often seem unstoppable and overwhelming…

…And He will see millions who, like so many of you dear readers are earnestly seeking Him, who are not afraid to boldly proclaim His truth and glory to all the world right here on the worldwide web. He would see people who are at the forefront of the Gospel, fighting the good fight for Jesus Christ, proclaiming His Kingdom and doing the work that He has asked us to do.

Are we pessimists or optimists?  For myself, I can truly say that I am a little bit of both.  When I look out there and see the world of men for what it truly is, I am pessimistic for its future, for it will come to judgment.  However, when I read and follow what so many of you are doing on the web, I am so very optimistic that God’s people will continue to spread the Gospel, glorify God; many are coming to salvation because of your efforts and those of many others that we may never  even know about.

When I weigh the two, I am overwhelmed by optimism, for whatever our poor world may insist upon putting itself through, God will prevail, His Word will prevail and the people fo God will inherit the blessings that our Lord has promised for us.

Praise be to God!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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4 Responses to Pessimism or Optimism?

  1. Anonymous says:

    As much as I want to be in charge of the whole world and at least my world – God is! I really need to realize I am only a small part of God’s plan, but I need to remain faithful and steadfast in my love for him. God use me as your instrument today and everyday.

  2. kcarstensen says:

    I think it is almost necessary for us to try and stay on the optimistic side of trusting God’s plan; at least for me, I have found that if I don’t focus on the positive parts of the world around us the darkness can be much too overwhelming. That’s why we must be the light of the world to overcome it.
    Thanks for sharing – even just thinking about God’s optimum power brings hope to my day.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Thank you so much for sharing today! It sure is easy to let darkness rule the day, but with a little effort we can see the truth in the statement that “greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world”.

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