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Jones column: Optimism is hope in Jesus Christ

The dictionary definition of optimism is not mine. I define optimism in one word: Faith.
My definition of optimism is the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Through his salvation, we will have eternal life with him.
I go to different youth conferences and a speaker I once heard said, “If you are a Christian, this is the worst hell you will ever experience.”
There is hardly a time when you don’t see something bad on the news or in the newspaper. I won’t even try to mention today’s economy, as it would take too long.
My youth pastor told me, “We need more optimism in the world today … the economy should not direct our general optimism or pessimism.”
I whole-heartedly agree.
We don’t need to get upset despite the bad things that are going on in the world. The Bible tells us “do not be afraid” 365 times. That is no coincidence.
God sends us a clear message, but we choose to ignore it. For every day of the year, God tells us “Do not be afraid”, not because we will get through it, but because God will get us through it.
God will not abandon us, but sometimes it takes time for us to reach rock bottom so that we realize that we need to reach up so that he can pull us up.
Sometimes we are tested like Job and Paul, two of my role models.
Everything was going wrong for Job. He had lost everything, yet he was still loyal to God.
Paul was just as amazing. He was converted on the road to Damascus and was filled with the Holy Spirit. That fire was a torch leading the way to Christ. His fire could not be quenched not even in the deepest, darkest, dampest, most odor-filled prison cell.
While in prison, he wrote 13 letters to the early churches. He told them to stand strong in their faith and to give thanks in all circumstances. Not for all circumstances, but in every circumstance there is something to be grateful for.
This year we all faced an unimaginable situation, the death of one of our own ó North Hills Christian School student Jonny Richardson, who was killed in a car accident this year. Without the faith that we have, which was started by our parents and reinforced through Christian education, we would have been lost. There was no way to be thankful for that, but in that we grew closer to one another, and to his family.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
This passage gives hope. This passage tells us that God has plans. They may not line up with our plans, but his plans are perfect. Jeremiah 29: 10-15 says, “He is the shepherd and we are the sheep.”
There is hope, salvation, grace, optimism in, with, and through Jesus Christ our lord and savior, who has written our past, planned the present and knows our future. For me, optimism is a mountainous past, which merges into the fires of the present leading to God’s brilliant vision for the future.
Michael Jones, an eighth-grader at North Hills Christian School, is the winner of the Optimist Club’s oratorical contest.

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