How Do We Remain Optimistic When Everything Goes Wrong?

Q: How do we remain optimistic and keep the faith when we are in the valley, during our lowest of the low? When we feel like Job — everything goes wrong, everything bad happens, and we are ready to throw in the towel, when it becomes a pity party and we don’t WANT to hear advice from others…

“Life is Difficult” were the first words of Scott Peck’s phenomenal late 1970s best seller The Road Less Traveled. The first thing to do when we are suffering is to know this is normal. Everyone suffers; why should not we? The psalms are full of laments. Secondly, pray and try and know that God is in the suffering. God doesn’t promise us a life without suffering, but God does promise to be with us in our suffering. There is no resurrection without the cross, which means there is no cross in our lives that does not contain within it the seeds of resurrection.

Finally, reach out to people and try to let them in. You say you don’t want advice, but you may find the presence of others a comfort.

As you make decisions in prayer you might find this video helpful.

Richard G. Malloy, SJ

Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is university chaplain at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).