I was well on my way to writing another pessimistic post, this time about having children, when a conversation with a friend, on the topic, revealed a flaw in my perspective. It’s kinda like the whole glass half full or half empty thing…
Focusing on the emptiness breeds fear, you see. But God has not given us a spirit of fear! So it’s un-Christian to focus on the negative.
Ok, so marriages can fail. Spouses can disappoint each other. And yet marriages can also succeed! Spouses can remain faithful. And the home can be happy!
Ok, so having children is scary because you’re responsible for the molding of a life that you could quite easily ruin! Yet, you could also raise children who will bless the world through their influence!
Here’s a quote I read in a book titled, “I Love Books” p405:
“Let me introduce you to two philosophers of the Alexandrian school. Posidippus is one, Metrodorus the other. They will speak to you – first Posidippus:
“What path of life may one hold? In the market place are strifes and hard dealings, in the house cares; in the country labor enough, and at sea terror; and abroad, if thou hast aught, fear, and if thou art in poverty, vexation. Art married? thou wilt not be without anxieties; unmarried? thy life is yet lonelier. Children are troubles; a childless life is a crippled one. Youth is foolish, and gray hairs again feeble. In the end the choice is one of these two: either never to be born, or, as soon as born, to die.”
“Now listen to Metrodorus, who has heard what his fellow philosopher has to say:
“Hold every path of life. In the market place are honors and prudent dealings, in the house rest; in the country the charm of nature, and at sea gain; and abroad, if thou has aught, glory, and if thou art in poverty, thou alone knowest it. Art married? so will thine household be blest; unmarried? thy life is yet lighter. Children are darlings; a childless life is an unanxious one; youth is strong, and gray hairs again reverend. The choice is not then of one of the two, either never to be born or to die; for all things are good in life.””
Posidippus and Metrodorus make true observations from different angles and that affects their conclusions on whether life is worth living or not. Posidippus’ conclusion is clearly un-Christian for why would God give us life if it weren’t worth living?! But Metrodorus’ conclusion seems unrealistic because really, it’s not all good – what of sin!?
And that’s where God steps in!
See, it was originally all good – in fact, it was goodx6 and very good! But then sin entered the world and now the same plant is a thorn bush and a rose bush at the same time. The thing is, with God, it’s all roses, but without Him, it’s all thorns.
Jesus came and bore the pain so that we could pick the rose. Check out this quote from “Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing” p71:
“The Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Savior, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord’s permission, and “all things” that are permitted “work together for good to them that love God” Romans 8:28″
With confidence in a God who is our shield like that, how could a Christian not stop to smell the roses?! It doesn’t mean the negatives don’t exist. It just means that Christ has taken on all of the negatives for us already and will only permit that which would bless our lives.
I could go on and on about this but one last point and I’ll call it quits for now. Aside from the blatant lack of trust in God that a pessimistic attitude reveals, it also ultimately leads to the fulfillment of the very things we fear! You’re so afraid of making a mistake that the fear paralyzes you into making that very mistake. Moreover, you can’t be trusting God while you’re fearing evil. Here’s a quote I read this morning in “Patriarchs and Prophets” p513 about the Israelites – this is after they finally possessed the Promised Land:
“The cowards and rebels had perished in the wilderness, but the righteous spies ate of the grapes of Eschol. To each was given according to his faith. The unbelieving had seen their fears fulfilled. Notwithstanding God’s promise, they had declared that it was impossible to inherit Canaan, and they did not possess it. But those who trusted in God, looking not so much to the difficulties to be encountered as to the strength of their Almighty Helper, entered the goodly land…”
I want to trust God enough to smell the roses!