Pessimist or Optimist?

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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11 Responses to Pessimist or Optimist?

  1. I consider myself a realist. IMO! After reading and mulling Scripture for years I have come to the conclusion that Christianity, Judaism, Islam will slowly fade from belief. It has happened several times over the centuries (remember the Age of Enlightenment?), each time coming back less than it was. We are, again, in those times, and I am not sure I will see its resurgence in my lifetime. Eventually, as in the OT, the days of Sodom and Gammorah will return and God’s messengers will scour the earth for just ten righteous men; failing to do so will usher in the final days when God wipes the remnants of humanity, and the remaining nine will begin the age of the New Jerusalem.

  2. pipermac5 says:

    In spite of how bleak the outlook seems to us, God always has and will preserve a faithful remnant, and maybe in the “least-likely” of places. What if a mighty revival began among the handful of faithful nudist resort ministries and spread from there? That would seem to be the ultimate oxymoron, considering that nudists are the modern-day “Samaritans” of the church. Christ is building His church, so we need not fear for its future.



  3. Melissa says:

    This is so encouraging Don, thank you! Sometimes you just need to know that your zealousness for the Lord is not in vain.

  4. I am a little bit of both, myself – not just about the state of the world but the state of the modern church.

    Sometimes, when I think about the church and its place in the wider, non-believing world, I ask myself what the apostles would think of how the church (and the world) has evolved over time. Sometimes I think they’d be horrified at how materialistic and consumer-focused the church has become at a time when the dying world very badly and obviously needs the service and love of Christians…and sometimes I think they’d be amazed at how God’s love has ignited in so many faithful the desire to serve and love in the name of the Holy One whom they have not met in the flesh.

    As always and always, the world will decay and go on decaying – but as long as there is Light, there is hope indeed. That’s the glorious tension of our faith.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Indeed. I have a hunch that if they would pay us a visit, and send little report cars and critiques around the entirety of the church today, they would read quite a bit like the letters to the seven churches in Revelation; many problems, but still a few shining examples.

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