A reason to be outrageously optimistic, but realistically so

An inverse paranoid is someone who believes that no matter what is happening, the whole word is plotting for their benefit.

The reality of life is: bad things will happen. Suffering happens. Part of living and functioning in the bodies and the world in which we live (actually I think it’s probably mostly to do the human heart but anyway).

We delude ourselves into thinking we can control our lives and our situations. The life of modern man becomes an unbroken chain of movements dictated by his anxious desire for assurances. Our capitalist individualistic culture is the perfect breeding ground for such living and thinking. The reality is we have very little control of our circumstances.

But we can control our hearts and the perspective we will take come what may.

The inverse paranoid is not a state of deluded mania -a giddiness and a belief that one can do the impossible, a disconnection from reality. It is choosing to believe that in a situation where there are many outcomes that whatever is best for you will happen.

And the Christian out of all peoples, has the greatest reason to be an outrageously optimistic inverse paranoid.

We have a good shepherd who promises to be with us every step of the way. We are led before and we are followed. He never tells us to go where he has not gone before. We are surrounded and surrendered to his sovereign leadership. There is a leading but in the leading there is a shocking closeness and intimacy. That out of all things should be enough.

And so in any valley we may not know why or how or when. But we can choose to quiet our anxious souls and remain outrageously hopeful: Jesus doesn’t promise a life free from bad things and suffering. But we can choose one thing: to fully believe the words: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”

“Constant One
Endless is Your love
Like a river can’t be stopped
You’re faithful
Constant One
Who is like You, God?
Your mercy’s like the sun
Always rising
Over us”  – Steffany Gretzinger

 

 

 

 

 

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The Outrageously Hopeful Person

The more I think and learn about hope, the more I feel like hope is indispensable for the human being.

There is always something in us that longs for something greater, something better, something deeply satisfying…something more. It would seem that hope is even more necessary than comfort, or shelter, or food, because in situations that are objectively very bad in these terms, hope makes it bearable. Physical or emotional suffering is made bearable and even negligible depending on the degree of hope you have. Reverse that situation – so give someone all the wealth and power and luxury of the world and people still commit suicide out of despair or a lack of hope.

The question we must ask is: How do you maintain hope in our world today?    

     Not a lofty hope that is ignorant of the realities of the world 
     Not a fake hope that is put-on
     Not a temporary hope that gets disillusioned and cynical

But a sustainable, genuine, and earthy hope.

I don’t think you could base the hope on anything in this world – not in things or other people or yourself. Because then your hope will definitely fail you, so you end up in despair, until you find the next fickle thing to put your hope in, and then that fails. So either a hardening and cynicism begins to enter your heart or you continue to naively hope and despair.

So we must base our hope on something that is out of this world. And yet it must involve this world paradoxically or else you would want leave this world or you would disengage in a way is helpful to nobody.

And I suspect that Jesus Christ was the most hopeful person in the world. I have imagined that he may have had a conversation with the Father before coming down to earth to be crucified that went something the lines of: “Father, do you think they will turn and realise? Do you think they will open the door when I knock? I don’t know if they will, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.” The truth is that no-one is more hopeful than the man Jesus Christ. And no-one wants to make things right, no-one wants justice, more than Jesus Christ. We just have trouble seeing and believing that reality.

So I hope, that we would be a people who follow after the heart of Jesus Christ. To the extent that we do, we will have a real and tangible hope that is contagious that others feel when they are around you. And we will be a people outrageously hopeful, yet earthy and engaged; outrageously optimistic and idealistic, yet soberly real. These will be beautiful people indeed.