There are two extremes of attitude regarding hardships. One is that of the fellow who looks for the cloud behind every silver lining and expects only the worst. The other extreme is someone who makes ambitious plans without factoring in the likelihood of setbacks along the way (James 4:13-16).
A healthier, more realistic, and ultimately more livable perspective stands somewhere between these two extremes. It is an optimistic outlook, but one that takes problems into account. It is the balanced view of Solomon who said that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh” (Eccl. 3:4 KJV).
It is the flexible viewpoint of Job, who said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10 NASB). It is the hope-giving attitude of Jesus who said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB).
It is a philosophy that looks beyond the sorrows of this life to a far better world to come: “. . . the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18 KJV).
The foolish builder in Jesus’ parable lived as though he expected no storms would ever come. But then one day his world came crashing down (Matt. 7:24-27).
Let’s not let troubles catch us unawares—whether illness or bereavement or financial loss or whatever. Let’s be both realistic and optimistic. Yes, we will have troubles aplenty in this life, but for the faithful Christian, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
And in this we rejoice!