DN Overcoming Pessimism 5/17/2006


MAY 17

Overcoming Pessimism

The twelve apostles included "Philip" (Matt. 10:3).

It's been said that an optimist sees a glass half full; a pessimist
sees it half empty. An optimist sees opportunities; a pessimist sees
obstacles. In one sense Philip was an optimist. He recognized Jesus
as the Messiah and immediately saw an opportunity to share his
discovery with Nathanael. In another sense, Philip was a pessimist
because on occasions he failed to see what Christ could accomplish
despite the apparent obstacles.

On one such occasion Jesus had just finished teaching and healing a
crowd of thousands of people. Night was falling and the people were
beginning to get hungry. Apparently Philip was responsible for the
food, so Jesus asked him, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may
eat?" (John 6:5). Philip said, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is
not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little" (v. 7). In
other words, "We don't have enough resources in our whole savings
account to buy enough food for a group this size!" Philip's
calculating, pragmatic, pessimistic mind could reach only one
conclusion: this is an utter impossibility.

Jesus knew all along how He was going to solve the problem, but He
wanted to test Philip's faith (v. 6). Philip should have passed the
test because he had already seen Jesus create wine from water at the
wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). Despite Philip's failure, Jesus didn't
give up on him. Instead, from five barley loaves and two fish He
created enough food to feed the entire crowd, thus replacing Philip's
pessimism with a reaffirmation of divine sufficiency.

There's a little of Philip in each of us. We've experienced God's
saving power and have seen Him answer prayer, yet there are times
when we let pessimism rob us of the joy of seeing Him work through
obstacles in our lives. Don't let that happen to you. Keep your eyes
on Christ and trust in His sufficiency. He will never fail you!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Memorize Ephesians 3:20-21. Recite it often as a hymn of praise and
an affirmation of your faith in God.

For Further Study:

Read Numbers 13 and 14.

What kind of report did the pessimistic spies bring back from
the Promised Land? How did the people react to their report?
How did God react to their report?

Drawing Near, Copyright 1993 John F. MacArthur, Jr.

All rights reserved. Used by permission.


John 2:1-11 (NKJV)
2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the
mother of Jesus was there.
2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him,
"They have no wine."
4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with
Me? My hour has not yet come."
5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the
manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty
gallons apiece.
7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they
filled them up to the brim.
8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master
of the feast." And they took it.
9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made
wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had
drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.
10 And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good
wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You
have kept the good wine until now!"
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and
manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

Ephesians 3:20-21
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all
that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.


These devotions are posted with permission from John MacArthur's
first (1993) devotional work, _Drawing Near_, and they are also sent
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In addition, John's second (1997) devotional, _Strength for Today_,
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In Christ,


Peter G. Chase :: Columbus, Ohio, USA

STOP! Who do you think Jesus is?


To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner was you. -Alistair Begg