Faith during Difficult Times (3)

Lessons from Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

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optimism
Faith during Difficult Times

Picture courtesy of www.resilience-institute-europe.com

The 3rd lesson from Deitrich Bonhoeffer, (if you missed the first 2 see the Calendar), is EMBRACE OPTIMISM. Along with cheerfulness, this is not an easy thing to achieve in difficult times and Deitrich Bonhoneffer was living in the hell of a Nazi concentration camp and facing execution. So not an easy ask for him either, so how did he achieve it.

Bonhoeffer’s approach to prison life was not to allow the confinement to restrict his activity. Quite literally, he did not sit still while waiting for his hope for freedom to materialise:

I read, meditate, write, pace up and down my cell — without rubbing myself sore against the walls like a polar bear. The great thing is to stick to what one still has and can do — there is still plenty left — and not to be dominated by the thought of what one cannot do, and the feelings of resentment and discontent.

Bonhoeffer refused to be pessimistic, even though facing death, in the worst possible circumstances. He refused to be pulled down into the black pit of depression that just makes everything 100x worse when they are bad enough already. He said that there are 2 kinds of optimism:

It is true that there is a silly, cowardly kind of optimism, which we must condemn. But the optimism that is will for the future should never be despised, even if it is proved wrong a hundred times; it is health and vitality, and the sick man has no business to impugn it.

If you are facing the worst case scenario, keep praying and remember that as long as you are breathing - this too shall pass, and if it leaves you not breathing, you will have the joy of going home to Jesus. I love the quote from the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”-

It will all be alright in the end, so if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.

It's especially true for us as Christians, Life is short. Enjoy it. Don't dwell on the bad things because in the end, everything will be okay. Because in the end we go home to heaven. That actually means we can be the ultimate optimists. So be optimistic fools willing to believe in the possibility of a miracle, eventually one way or the other, we all get one.