Hopeful, not Optimistic

Read: Hebrews 6:10-20

We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. (v. 19 NRSV)

I am having a hard time feeling optimistic. Perhaps you are too? I was going to write a list of contemporary issues that trouble me, but then I stopped because I feared some readers might find my list polarizing—which made me feel worse. Climate change, sexuality, pandemic, election security, gun rights, and racial justice are all culture-war buzz words fraught with baggage. These words divide, and we often can’t even talk to each other about them. How can we solve our problems when we can’t talk to each other?

Not only is our nation divided, but our churches are following suit. Denominations and congregations are splintering as they too are caught in the culture wars. Where do we find hope?

The good news, I keep reminding myself, is the Bible never says, “Always look on the sunny side.” Optimism is great, but it’s not actually a biblical virtue. However, hope is a virtue; and hope and optimism are not the same thing. Optimism is the sense that everything is going to work out alright, whereas biblical hope is the belief that things are alright, no matter how they work out. Biblical hope is an anchor for the soul. No matter how the waves of current events and modern culture toss and turn, our hope is found in something far deeper than winning the culture war. Over the next few days we’ll explore biblical hope together. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, lay your worries and concerns before God.

About the Author

Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series Hopeful, Not Optimistic