Hoping for the best, accepting the worst

Traditionally, the saying is, “hope for the best, but expect the worst,”; however, changing the word to accept seems more in line with biblical thinking.  Even if we’re to reconcile our minds to expecting the worst, we can find peace in the knowledge that the worst cannot come to fruition because the absolute worst is to be condemned to Hell for eternity.  As blogger and associate pastor, Pete Hurst, so simply states, “the worst that can happen, can’t happen.”  With that possibility clearly out of the way, all of the other circumstances and experiences we may endure can be entered into not only with hope, but with acceptance.  This mantra of living can be applied throughout both the peaks and valleys, whether it’s only darkness that seems to envelop you or you’re in a phase where all in your life is well.  Hoping for the best, while readily accepting the worst is a foundational faith building exercise.

This thinking is new for me, as I’d always held the former way of expecting the worst as a way to plan for it, to somehow prepare myself for all of the unfortunate circumstances that could happen and take them on with a perceived level of control.  But now, as life continues on in the aftermath of having to persevere through our son’s stroke, I’ve been avertly aware of the thoughts that enter my mind.  It’s taken discipline, God given discipline, to usher out the “expecting the worst” thoughts almost as quickly as they enter.  The opposite is true of the “hoping for the best” tidbits that come up, these are now entertained and dwelt upon moreso without allowing for the darker ones to overtake the hopeful ones.  Our minds are powerful and, when used in accordance with the word of God, can drive us either towards Him, or away from Him in misplaced fear.

When I mention “the worst,” my intentions are to point towards whatever ails us during this time of living as mortal beings.  Primarily, illness and sicknesses come to mind as those are the breed of ailments that we generally have no control over.  Disease and death can catch us completely off guard and propose seemingly insurmountable challenges to our minds as our bodies fail us, or the bodies of those we hold dear: our children, born or unborn, our immediate or extended family members, our beloved friends, any human being that we are bonded to that to be unbonded to would bring us pain.  Secondarily, all else could fall into this category: financial hardship, social struggles, marital strife, family tension, or overall discontentment with life no matter what your circumstances may be.  All of the above “worsts” most certainly can, and depending on God’s plan, will happen to each of us at one time or another, some of them will happen simultaneously.

This is where hope in “the best” presents itself.  How do we pursue hoping for the best while going through the worst?  We can begin with acceptance.  Acceptance in what our Lord brings our way, acceptance of those things that are out of our control, and acceptance that, without a firm faith that rests in His will, we are lost and without the hope that will sustain us through it all.  The best has already been given to us, as believers in the risen Christ, as the free gift of salvation is bestowed upon us by this God that we worship deservedly.  What else could we possibly yearn for that surpasses the love He has given us by blessing our lives for eternity?  In every instance, the answer to that question is “not a thing.” If that sounds too simple or trite, depending on what you’re going through or have gone through, then I suggest you alter your mindset by fine tuning your focus onto, and into, Him.  Our Heavenly Father will provide for us, never forsake us, and give us the strength to get through “the worst,” by helping us to have eyes to see and ears to hear as we persist with hope for “the best.”

Accepting the worst doesn’t mean not fighting for the best through it, it’s admitting that it isn’t us who decrees the will of God in our lives.  So when the worst comes, we can righteously pray for healing, with the assurance that God hears our prayers and pleas for the desires of our hurting hearts, but with the deeper assurance that He is sovereign over every aspect of our life.  He can, and will, carry us through our trials, anointing us with the understanding that hoping for the best, while accepting what we view as the worst, is fulfilled when we set our sights on Him.  To fully comprehend the truth of who He is and accept what He is doing, is a pursuit worth exploring.

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