one alternative to pessimism and optimism

The pessimists say life is hard and won’t get better. The optimists say life is good or will be soon. But the believers say our hope is in Jesus whether life is hard or life is good, releasing the right to predict the future, holding on to God who comes to be with us now.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Don’t paint the world black seeing only negative space. Don’t paint the world pink and try to call the bad things good. Let the believers consider Immanuel, the with-ness of God, right where we are, not where we wish we were instead.


  1. says

    I read this aloud to my husband this morning. I am so blessed by your words. I am generally an extremist, so I can tend to feel uncomfortable sitting in the middle of the pessimism and the optimism, but holding on to Jesus is right where it’s all at. Thank you for sharing.

  2. says

    this makes my morning, to put a halt to the railing against the difficulties, the struggling to hold up my chipper end of the deal.
    i forget positive isn’t the most peaceful, honest path.
    thank you for the alternative.

  3. says

    This is an incredible perspective, and it matches what my husband preached last night -about having peace because Jesus is with us. This is a great nugget for me as a pastor’s wife -to share with people who are having a hard time. Thanks so much!

  4. says

    Hmmm, I have found that as I follow Christ, I can focus more on the blessings in life than on the bad things that may be happening. I guess He helps me become a glass half full kind of girl.

  5. says

    Since becoming chronically ill I attempt to hold my breath hoping I’ll not be right but proven wrong.

    It isn’t calculating how to hope in the right or wrong thing but purely having Hope, isn’t it?

    How quickly we become amnesiacs. Thank you for reminding me to remind myself

  6. says

    I’m really struck by the words “the with-ness of God.” Perhaps it’s the unexpectedness of the phrase but it causes a shift in my mind. To think of “with-ness” as part of the character God causes me to reflect on the continual and consistent presence of God. How easy is it for us to assume God’s passive hand in our lives and ignore that God is actually actively guiding and shaping us. Thanks for this alternative to pessimism and optimism. In this time of advent it’s a refreshing reminder of the work God IS doing.

    • says

      It does help to think about Immanuel as being with us – not just as something he does, but as someone he is. Thanks Jarred – for reading, and for your words.

  7. says

    Yes! Immanuel = God with us. Julian of Norwich talks of Jesus being ‘homely’, meaning part of our ordinary, everyday lives, with us in the good and the bad. I’ve been through so much bad, but now I’m learning that even if I feel awful, He is with me. It doesn’t take away the awfulness, but knowing that I am not alone is balm for the soul. Being holy is not an unreachable thing. It is in the here and now, with Jesus by my side.

    I wrote a poem about this just the other day, called ‘Immanuel: God With Us’. I love when the Holy Spirit says the same thing to different people :-)

  8. says

    I recently heard Ash Barker (a missionary to the slums of Bangkok, Thailand) say almost the exact same thing. Pessimism is a cop-out, he said, and optimism not an authentic option; so the only remaining answer for the is hope. For the Christian, this is especially true. Mr. Barker also talked about the Hebrew word for “hope” used in the Old Testament as being somehow related to (or even the same word as?) the word for rope, and how hope is like that a lot-something to just plain hold on to. Thanks for your blog, by the way-I recently discovered it and am really enjoying and appreciating it so far. It’s wholesome.

  9. Dawn says

    During those difficult, uneasy, questioning, I don’t understand why times I try to remind myself by repeating to myself…..right where you are, right where you are. Sometimes it takes 3 times, sometimes a lot more but it helps me to stop and remind myself I/my family and I are right where we are supposed to be. I also love to grab all my problems out of the air, put them in my hands and then toss them up and I say, there you go Jesus and thank you for taking all that on. I always feel relieved, maybe only temporarily but sometimes that is all you need to change your attitude and perspective.

  10. Margaret says

    This spoke straight to my heart. My husband has been on a ventilator for a week. I was in such a dark place yesterday! And there you were with these words. Thank you!

  11. hb says

    I thought the pessimist was the one who said, “Life may be good now, but watch out ’cause it won’t last” and the optimist, “Well, things may be a little rough, but they’re sure to get better – they can’t get much worse!”

  12. says


    Finding myself at the end of my rope last night, I came across your words. I loved that first paragraph. That last line just sent me into tears, but enabled me to let go of the situation and just realize the presence of God with me no matter what.

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