Grace Focused Optimism (Part 2)

Bob Roane Joy and Peace, Loving and Trusting God

I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. (Jeremiah 32:40-41)

Note: I am indebted to Dr. Charley Lynn Chase’s preaching on this theme. You can read Grace Focused Optimism (Part 1)

We Have Hope Because God Is Committed to Being Good to Us

Reread the verses above and you’ll see that He says this twice. Chase says that repetition is the Lord’s way of enlarging the font for emphasis. He wants us to know He’s as serious about being good to us as He is about casting Satan into the lake of fire and He can’t get more serious than that!1 The Hebrew words here mean the Lord blesses, favors, and prospers Jesus’ followers. He does what makes us gladder and better people. Here are some more ways God enriches us:

  • Christ takes away our fear because He is with us and will rescue us. In the Scriptures, the Lord often reminds us of His presence because confidence in God’s presence energizes us for serving Him. We can be strong and courageous in Jesus because He is always alongside us. Success is not about our abilities, skills, gifts, or dedication. We accomplish things because the Lord is successful in and out of us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.2
  • Because of Jesus’ saving work, the door to Heaven’s throne room is always open to us. We can approach Him with freedom and confidence to get help in time of need. The Lord has all the resources to handle all challenges we face. God loves us and wants us to call on Him for assistance. Because of His great mercy and grace, we can.3
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit to teach, help, and counsel Christ’s followers; to sanctify, empower, and enable us to bear good fruit in our lives; to help in our weakness and intercede for us. The Spirit takes away our fear and gives us power and love and self-control.4

The Lord gives us 10,000 reasons for faith, hope, and optimism in Jesus.5 So let’s trust Him again and again, not our unreliable feelings.

We Have Hope Because God Is Good All the Time

People can be fickle in their affection for us and we can’t depend on them. A long-time friend can suddenly decide they don’t like us, then flip-flop and want to be close again. They can appreciate us sometimes and abuse us other times. Fickle comes from the Old English ficol and means deceitful.

The Lord is not like that. In Jeremiah 32:40, He says that in His everlasting covenant, He will never, ever stop doing good to Jesus’ believers. Moment by moment, He’s up to our good. Nick Vujicic is an Australian-American Christian born without arms or legs. He says: Every time you think you’re being rejected, God is actually redirecting you to something better. Ask Him to give you the strength to press forward as you trust and obey Him.

Charley Chase asserts that every second of every day of every year of your life, we can say with Joseph: “God meant it for good.”6 The Lord’s loving purpose prevails over everything, even over the evil deeds of human beings. The New Testament’s one-sentence biography of Jesus is: “He went around doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him.”7 God the Father, Son, and Spirit helps us all the time!

Charles Stanley wrote: You aren’t going to be happy about difficult situations, but you can be satisfied that God is in control and up to something good in the midst of trouble. The Lord’s principles and promises don’t change, no matter how severe or painful the circumstances are. Focus on Christ instead of the hardships and God will comfort your heart and bring you safely through the trials. Until then, let’s “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).

We Have Hope Because God Rejoices in Blessing Us

Jesus said that even sinful parents love to give good gifts to our children. And much, much more, our Father in heaven loves to give good gifts to those who ask Him!8 It brings the Lord pleasure to share His riches with undeserving people who repent and believe on Christ. Zephaniah 3:17 says that the Lord our God is with us, He saves us, He takes great delight in us, and He rejoices over us with singing. It makes Him happy, glad, and cheerful to open His hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.9

Conclusion

No wonder Psalm 23:6 says: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the Lord’s house forever.” Someone has explained goodness and mercy as Christ’s two sheepdogs rounding up and following His flock. Jesus tracks the scent of God’s sheep, finds us, and overtakes us with His grace. Pastor Andrew Kerr suggests that rather than sheepdogs, maybe they are more like Labradors who practically lick us to death with God’s love. So there is no place, time, or circumstance in the life of true believers, when we are out-of-sight, or beyond the reach of Jesus Christ’s goodness and mercy.10

Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with us to the end.

Praise God! He gives us grace-focused optimism!

Notes (various Bible translations): 1 Rev 20:1-10.     2 Jer 1:4-19; Phil 4:13.     3 Jer 29:4-14, 50:34; Heb 4:16.     4 Jer 31:33-34; Ezek 36:25-27; 2 Tim 1:7.     5 I’m remembering Matt Redman’s song “10,000 Reasons” based on the opening of Psalm 103.     6 Gen 50:20.     7 Acts 10:38.     8 Matt 7:11; Luke 11:13.     9 Psalm 145:16.     10 gentlereformation.com/2019/10/28.