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If there's one thing I've never been called in my life, it's "optimist." Do I try to hope for the best? Absolutely. But the best rarely happens. Do I see the world as a pessimist? Nope. The worst rarely happens, either. I call myself a realist: I want the good things to happen, but I prepare for the bad, and I keep my view somewhere in the middle -- where things really are. It means that different people will see me differently, some as a killjoy, some as a dreamer, but no matter what, I try to present the facts as they are.

I think the Bible is a realist book. Ecclesiastes keeps us grounded by reminding us not everything in life is going to be easy or lovely or wonderful. The New Testament paints a similar portrait of life on earth. We may win the ultimate victory through Christ Jesus and gain eternal life, but this world will make us suffer and cause some of us to pay the ultimate price for our faith. A Christian's life isn't going to be a bed of roses, both because, well, no one's is, and also specifically because of our faith. And the word of God wants to prepare us for that.

We're beyond the "Happy New Year!" period of 2018. Many have already abandoned their resolutions before these first ten days have passed. Many are realizing that, so far, 2018 isn't a lot different from 2017. As we continue to look toward the future, let's keep a realistic view of things. The year will have both blessing and curse. We will have great joy and also great sorrow. But no matter what comes to pass in the real world, God remains on the throne, and He will forever love His children, both now and in the age to come.

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