Lessons Learned From An Optimistic Hound Dog


The height of optimism was best exemplified to me when my brother told the story of how his house dog barked and excitedly ran to the door, till the day he died, each time a visitor arrived…and it was never for him! Yet, he ran and barked each time the doorbell rang, despite his zero-success rate.

The world in which we live can have a tendency to bring us down. There seems to be no end to the “negativity” that prevails in the news. Sometimes, if you allow it, you can get swallowed up in it. It can leave you depressed about life and its future. And there is no question that we live in troubled times. However, we live in troubled times mostly because we are “living.” If you study history, you will find that every generation has been presented with its unique challenges and troubles. I look no further than the scriptures to read of the lives of optimistic people living in troubled times. I know most people wouldn’t classify the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah found in the 19th chapter of Genesis as an “optimistic” story, but I have always loved the bargaining done by the optimistic Abraham with the Lord found in the previous chapter. When Abraham learns of the impending destruction of the cities, he asked the Lord:

“Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?(vs.23-24) When the Lord agrees to spare the cities if fifty are found, Abraham’s optimistic look on the people, and on the mercy of the Lord, leads him to inquire if it can be spared if there are forty-five righteous, then forty, then thirty, then twenty and finally just ten. God agrees to spare the cities if only ten good people can be found! (vs. 25-32) The scriptures record that Abraham went back home after his conversation with the Lord. But…he got up early the next morning and went back to the place where he had previously talked with the Lord, which appears to me to have been some distance. (Gen. 19:27) It is there, at this unknown location that Abraham can now see the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. I assume he hurried there with great hope and optimism that all would be well. What he saw was “smoke of the country (that) went up like the smoke of a furnace.” (vs.28) Yikes!

It appears from the scriptures that Abraham went forward after that with renewed enthusiasm. Nary a word of complaint is recorded. The word optimism is often associated and even interchanged with the word “faith,” because both words speak of hope in the future and that hope has been able to affect mighty change.

As followers of Christ, we have reason to be optimistic about the future. With the knowledge that our lives are in the Lord’s hands, and that the destiny of His kingdom is assured, we of all people should rejoice in knowing that the Savior lives, he is real, and he is leading and guiding the affairs of his kingdom through inspired men and woman of God.  Knowing that alone, is reason for great hope!

Optimism alone will not affect change, but without it, action is never forthcoming! Perhaps there is something to be said for my brother’s optimistic dog. He never got a visitor, but for him, the hope for such was always just a knock away!

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