Staying Positive in Negative Times

I really don’t want to sound negative, but I’m a bit tired of all the negative talk going on in the world today.  Are you?  No matter which way you look or which side of an issue you’re on, there’s always somebody saying something negative.

Admittedly there are a lot of negative and difficult things happening these days – everything from coronavirus deaths to unemployment statistics or from racial tensions to political differences.  It’s all around us and not easily avoided. All of this negativity can lead us to be emotionally on edge and more easily angered or discouraged.  That’s why it’s so important for us to look to God’s Word for encouragement and to choose faith instead of negativity. Because simply stated …

a negative outlook doesn’t lead to a positive life.

Would you agree with that?  If that’s true, then how can a person of faith be optimistic in the face of such negativity around us?  The outlook of our lives depends on it!  To get at the answer to that question, let’s start with a simple definition of optimism. states in part that …

Optimism is “hopefulness and confidence about the future…”

But that raises the question, confidence in what? I would like to propose a definition of optimism that completes the definition from a Christian standpoint.

“Optimism is the unwavering expectation that our loving God is working every situation for our good.”

Doesn’t that sound optimistic?  But what would allow us to say such a thing? While there are multiple verses in Scripture that would support such a definition, perhaps the most direct and relevant statement is made by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 8 …

“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.” – Romans 8:28

I’ve added an underline to emphasize that God is working in all things – in every situation. “All things” might mean something as seemingly insurmountable as the coronavirus pandemic or as mundane as your difficult boss. It might mean something as seemingly impossible to solve as the racial tensions in our country or as commonplace as paying the bills. The important thing for us to grasp is that …

whatever is causing negativity in your life – it is not beyond the reach of our God.

And the mistake that people of faith often make is reacting to difficult and negative situations as if there were no God and as though faith does not matter. The truth is, that things which seem completely impossible to us are possible for God and that no matter what challenges we face, we have a hope that goes beyond our present circumstances. The Apostle Paul says (emphasis mine),

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

… and remember that he wrote that after being beaten many times, thrown out of town, arrested and imprisoned.  Talk about remaining optimistic in the face of negativity! The Apostle Paul can say this because he knows that …

what consumes your thoughts controls your life.

So he learned that rather than look at the present challenges, he would instead fix his eyes on Jesus and place his hope in the glory that one day will be revealed in Him, and also in us as He works through us. He learned to be content in every circumstance – even in the negativity and struggles of life.

So what are you struggling with today? Where are you hurting? What have you lost? What is grieving your spirit and stealing your joy? Might I suggest that you entrust that to an all-powerful and all-loving God who is working every situation toward your good?

Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, help us to remain positive in the face of negativity. And help us to place our hope in you. Thank you that we can trust that you are at work in every situation – no matter how hard or how negative. And help us to have the confidence that you are working all things together for our good. May you be glorified in us, even in our struggles.  Amen.

You can listen to or watch this full message online by clicking here.