“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 [MSG]

This is the ultimate passage of scripture for the optimist. Even the cynic will find it difficult to refute, because it ends off by telling us that that is exactly how God our Father wants us to live. But does not our Father know that the world is really not that rosy? Does He not realize that for some of us, our circumstances are tough? Sure He does. But despite that, Jesus still wants to show us why and how we can still be optimistic in the face of this world.

“You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—“We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 [MSG]

The world is gloomy because its existence is finite. Everywhere you turn, you are faced with the reality of finality. Incomes run out, success gets forgotten. Even life itself will eventually come to a sudden grinding halt. In fact, Jesus was the one, who highlighted this fact to us, when He told us this story,

“The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’” Luke 12:16-20 [MSG]

And it is this transience and finality that led many great scholars and thinkers to moan the futility of life, not the least of which was Solomon.

““Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

Heard this before? Just in case you think Solomon was talking about fashion, this is what he meant.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 [NIV]

What a sad realization he had, and how much more dejected he must have felt when he penned these words,

“All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:8-9 [ESV]
But more than just a bad case of the Monday blues, there is reason for this despair. You see, when the world finally grinds to halt, this is what will happen.

“I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.” Revelation 20:11-15 [MSG]

So all that we have achieved, all the success we have had, no matter how hard we try and cryo-freeze to preserve it, will come to an end on the day of judgement. It is of little wonder then why the people of the world are afraid of death.

But Beloved, the wrath on that day is not for us. Instead, this is what awaits us.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

Jesus is coming for us, we who believe and are therefore made right with God our Father, we are not going to face the wrath of God in judgement, as Jesus Himself says,

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:20-26

We are already in Him, and on that last day, we shall be with Him. No wonder then, the apostle Paul says,

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

So this is why we can be optimistic. Because, even if you do not get a single good day more in your life, your suffering will come to an end, it will be all over, and we will be in Paradise with Jesus, perhaps sipping margaritas by Heavens’ beach, but surely singing His praise all of our days. So bad days; bring it on. One day gone is one day closer.

But Beloved, though we look forward to a distant eternal bliss, do not forget that our Father is not an impractical God, for Jesus tells us,

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

And what do we do when we seek Jesus, the righteousness of God? We ask,

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

So then, we can “Be cheerful no matter what” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 [MSG]) because we are going to spend an eternity in Heaven with Jesus and because from now till then, Jesus has got our back.

We should also “pray all the time” for it is through prayer that we gain access to the promises of Jesus. After all, prayer is nothing more than talking to Jesus and to our Father, in much the same way that you talk to your earthly brother and father.

And finally we most certainly can “thank God no matter what happens” (Thessalonians 5:18 [MSG]) because when you look back, you can Count Your Blessings And Count Your Way Out Of Trouble.

Beloved, remember that for us who believe, we have no part in God’s wrath anymore. For,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

So whatever may befall us, not only do we know that we have good days ahead to look forward to, regardless of what our current circumstances may be; these good days will last in this life and the next. For the Psalmist says,

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.” Psalm 23:6

And if you have yet to make Jesus your Lord and Savior, if you have yet to partake of His saving grace, and would like to take Him up on His offer of salvation and abundant life right now, then say this to our Father.

“Father, thank You for loving me. Thank You for showing me why, despite how my situation may look like right now, I can be optimistic because You have my back. Thank You Father for sending Jesus to die on my behalf, taking all my sins and exchanging it with His righteousness; so that now I am right with You, pleasing in Your sight and loved by You. I know that all this would not have been possible if Jesus had not bled and died; for by His blood, I receive full remission of all my sins. I also know that by His body broken, I can now receive fullness and wholeness in mine; for by His stripe, I am healed. So now I look forward with great expectation, knowing that not only will I be with You one day, You are also watching over me in the here and now. So I rejoice in that knowledge, looking ever only unto You for my provision and protection and I will give thanks constantly for the hope and You have given me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Beloved, remember that things will be looking up when you are looking up.

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