Sunday, October 6, 2013

"The Energies of a Glorious Optimism"

“And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” – Acts 13:52

I’ve finally reached that age of expectation in Scripture: “threescore years and ten” (Psl. 90:10). I must say, it came sooner than I expected and with less flourish than I might have hoped for. J As I look back, I find so many wonderful memories to which I could cling, but I can truthfully say, for me, anticipation outweighs nostalgia. I agree with the man who said: 

Expect the best! It lies not in the past.
God ever keeps the good wine till the last.
Beyond are nobler work and sweet rest.
Expect the best!

My title comes from an excerpt in a wonderful little essay by the great preacher, John Henry Jowett (1864-1923), entitled “The Power of the Holy Spirit,” which can be found in his book, Things That Matter Most: Devotional Papers. He gives three dynamics of Holy Spirit power in men as found in the book of Acts: 1)“an extraordinary power of spiritual apprehension” 2) “a magnificent force of character” 3) “the energies of a glorious optimism.” Allow me to share with you something he says about the last one:

And what is an optimist? He is a man who can scent the coming harvest when the snow is on the ground. He can “feel the days before him.” He can live in the distant June in the dingy days of December. That is an optimist, a man who can believe in the best in the arrogant and aggressive presence of the worst. He can be imprisoned in the desolations of Patmos and yet can see “the Holy City, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” He can look at a poor, wayward, sinful Samaritan woman whose life is scorched like a blasted heath, and He can say, “The fields are white already unto harvest.” And this power of optimism is always operative in the apostolic life. I find it in the springiness of their soul…These men could not be held down. The spirit of optimism was ever present.

Someone has said, “You can tell how old you are by all the things you’ve done; and you can tell how young you are by all the things you still want to do.” Maybe that’s why I don’t feel so old. I’m not speaking physically, of course; my body would tell you a different story. But, praise the Lord, holy enthusiasm for the future isn’t dependent upon that! It’s my spirit that says to Jesus what the ruler of the bridal feast in Cana said, “Thou hast kept the good wine until now” (Jno. 2:10). I’m looking ahead for “nobler work,” and finally, “sweet rest.” And that, my friend, can infuse the world’s most lethargic pessimist with “the energies of a glorious optimism”!

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