One thing is required to please God and that is faith (Hebrews 11:6). For this involves knowing who He is and approaching Him accordingly. As such, I don’t think God enjoys seeing us plan and consider things out of fear and pessimism. It doesn’t, like Moses’ sin, hallow or give glory to The Lord (Numbers 20:12).
People, especially during these times of plague and famine, roll back to their old and fearful selves when we once again start wondering: “what if there’s no income in the coming month?” “What will happen if I cannot pay the rent?” Such worries are just stemming from emotionality and disbelief. These worries are nothing but lies (never forget 1 Peter 5:8 pertains to the fearful). Since when did The Lord abandon His people? Would you allow your very own children to starve and lack? And you consider yourself being good parents for this? How much more will your Father in Heaven watch over you and take good care of you! (Matthew 7:11)
Let us learn from Paul, who had this undying and unshakeable optimism that it got him to earthly trouble more than once. Paul is a guy we can definitely learn positive attitudes from. He is simply OK with anything! He knows who Jesus Christ is and I personally want this attitude installed in my life.
This reminds me of my dealings with my daughter. You just can’t win with people who are mostly immune to fear. When we are negotiating with eating sweets, Zoe would ask for three candies and I would negotiate for only giving her one. Our negotiations will go more or less like this:
Me: Sweets will ruin your teeth!
Zoe: It’s ok, I want to see my teeth fall off.
Me: Too much sweets will make you feel ill.
Zoe: It’s ok, I want to feel ill.
Me: If you get sick, you cannot play outside.
Zoe: I want to play inside the house.
The final draw is when I begin to lose my patience (and my countenance) and pull out the father card: “‘If you eat those sweets, you will get punished.”
Of course, Zoe will say: “It’s ok, I want to be punished!”
Now, I am not proud of my parenting style at all (that’s what mothers are for), although these exchanges show that this girl simply knows whom she is dealing with and she has no doubt that her father would never hurt her. As such, her typical response to my threats are: “It’s ok….” Reflecting on this, this response to threats and stressors are no different from the response of Paul, knowing that Jesus Christ Himself has got his back.
When the people and the government were set against Paul, he faced them and challenged them head on, being proud and confident of his righteousness in Christ:
“Who shall lay a charge on God’s elect? It is God who justifies”
When you are amidst suffering and tribulations, Paul will say:
Might as well take this opportunity to learn and improve yourself!
We glory in tribulations! -Romans 5:3-5
If you lack any skill, any confidence, Paul will say to you: Congratulations, you then qualify for God’s grace! – 2 Corinthians 12:9
I want to add something extra here, which is the positivity of another apostle of Jesus Christ. This one came from none other than Peter the Rock: Sufferings will strengthen you, even bring you closer to perfection. -1 Peter 5:10.
Iron sharpens iron
king Solomon -Proverbs 27:17
You see, it’s not only Paul who talked funny in the face of adversity. We can learn this undying optimism from other champions too.
Finally, back to Paul, he was so optimistic that even when death came for him, he had this to say:
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Not even death can shake this guy’s faith and courage. So, whether he was flogged, thrown over board a ship, bitten by a snake, our dear friend Paul kept on to the faith, fulfilling his calling in Christ which he obtained purely through God’s grace. It was this love, this mercy, which Jesus Christ gave him that empowered him to run the race of life to the very end; with sheer optimism, hope and faith. I strongly believe that God was very much pleased with this former Pharisee. He took literally what our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said about persecutions and sufferings:
Be of good cheer!!! I have overcome the world.
Jesus Christ (John 16:33)