More than we need food or water or air – we all need hope. A hopeless existence just isn’t worth living. Humans instinctively know this, so we spend our days searching for hope. However, sometimes we settle for something a little short of hope. In a legitimate desire to feel good about where we’re headed, we mistake positive thinking for genuine hope.
The real difference between the two comes down to their sources. Positive thinking flows from the human will, from the choice to believe that everything will turn out all right (whether it actually does or not). But Biblical hope rests on the unchanging character of God, that He will keep all His promises (whether it looks that way or not). In other words, positive thinking depends on us, while hope depends on God.
In Isaiah 49:23, God says, “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Maybe you have a family member who does not know the Lord and is trying to get by on “positive thinking.” Don’t knock positive, it beats negative thinking any time. But the next time she is struggling, explain to her the promises in God’s Word. Pass on your experiences of God’s great love, because hope in Jesus Christ is infinitely more powerful than any amount of positive thinking.