Learning from biblical pessimists

Tonight I took part in a fascinating conversation about positive and negative attitudes with the Forth Youth Fellowship otherwise own as the FYF. Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? The young people were frank and challenging in their thoughts and very gracious with what could have been a difficult subject.

Being a YF we turned to Scripture and looked at some biblical “half-empty” people and what came of them.  We started with Jonah – he saw the glass half empty and legged it in the others direction.  He wasn’t for getting involved with those Ninevah folks.  And when eventually he does he is gutted because they change their ways and there is no mass destruction.  And no amount of pleading from God was changing his mind.

Then we moved to that fabulous tale of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 where he has lost the will to live. He is the last prophet left standing and he hears the queen of hearts yell “off with his head” – or words to that effect.  He too legs it but God is rather more gentle with him for it is fear rather than self interest that motivates his behaviour. God feeds him and allows him time to rest and heal. Then after a journey away from Jezebel and her minions he meets with God at the cave. There he experiences God’s power over nature and God comes gently once again. He sends Elijah to meet with the 7000 who believe as well as bringing him to Elisha, the one he will disciple. Elijah as we all know becomes one of the most highly revered prophets in the Jewish and Christian faith. Yet even he has bad days.

We finished with a look at Exodus chapter 3 and the infamous story of the burning bush. Here Moses argues with God – repeatedly telling God that he can’t do what He asks. No matter what God does or says, or “tricks” he shows Moses – Moses still says he can’t do it.  If anything Moses is pretty gutsy telling God he can’t do it but finally God wins with the help of brother Aaron.  Read on though and Moses becomes the one who changes the course of history for the Israelites and is right up there at the top of the faith tree. Moses even remains faithful when Aaron does not.

Being a glass half empty person doesn’t mean that good things won’t happen.  However Moses needed support and Elijah needed strength and with it, through God achieved amazing things. Jonah on the other hand refused God’s help and his story ends with him dejected and angry on a hillside.

Are you a Moses? Convinced that you can’t do it? With God all things are possible and there are folk who will support you until you find the way.

Are you Elijah? Hurt, broken, worn out, weary, stressed to the max? God brings you healing and strength for the road ahead.  He will provide people to share the load. He promises to never leave you nor abandon you.

Or are you Jonah? I pray not!

May you find God is faithful to you no matter your circumstances.

And I will do a blog on the optimists of the Bible soon – those who see the glass as half full.

God bless

Love Sarah

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