Why Hope Isn’t the Same as Optimism
By Rick Warren
“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).
Life often brings you matters that are difficult to swallow, like a sickness, a job loss, or the death of a friend or family member. Those pills are bitter going down, and we often choke on them.
Rest assured that God is up to something good in your life even if you can’t see it. God is actively working to bring good out of whatever happens in your life. To hold on to hope in the midst of tough times, you’ll need to grab a hold of this truth.
The Bible says it this way: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).
The Bible isn’t saying that every event in your life will be good. You and I both know that’s just not true. But it does say that when you put your whole life together, every piece of it works together for good. It’s like making a cake. You may not like the taste of each ingredient, but when it’s all put together, you can’t keep your hands off of it. God wants to bake an amazingly tasty cake with your life, and he wants to use even the distasteful and bitter elements to do it.
God also doesn’t say that everything works together “like we want it to” or that every story will have a happy ending. The reality is not every business decision will make you a million dollars. Not every couple that gets married will live happily ever after. Not every child will become captain of the football team.
Instead, the verse reminds us that we can have absolute confidence that the Master Designer of the universe causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God. (By the way, this promise is for “those who love God,” not for people who don’t know God yet.)
Hope isn’t the same as optimism. It isn’t the belief that something bad will turn out well. It’s the absolute confidence that every part of your life ultimately makes sense regardless of how it turns out this side of eternity.
From our vantage point, life looks like a mess at times. But God’s view from Heaven isn’t the same as ours.
You can’t even imagine the good that God has in store for your future. In Jeremiah 29:11b God says, “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future” (NCV).
Your future is in God’s hands — and there’s no better place for it to be.
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Pastor Rick and Kay Warren experienced the loss of their son, Matthew, whose 27-year battle with mental illness led to the tragic loss of his life. They’ve taken the lessons they learned through their own personal experiences with loss and suffering and created a resource that will help anyone navigating through a difficult season.
This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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