I recently traveled to Boone, NC. As part of my activities there, I heard Irena Creek tell her story.  With an early childhood like hers, it was no small miracle that she came to believe her future would be any better.

She was born in a former Soviet Union country. Her parents were alcoholics. One evening while her father was out drinking, her mother left and never returned. The village placed Irena and her sister in a military-style orphanage. She felt alone, unloved, and abandoned. One day in the midst of despair, a new thought challenged her to stop looking at everything that was wrong. She should look forward with hope. She began to believe her best days lay ahead.

Soon they moved the girls to a more compassionate orphanage. It was there she heard that God knows and loves her. The cross of Christ took on new meaning as she placed her faith in Him. At 10 years old she finally felt secure, unburdened. She realized that it had been God’s voice urging her toward hope. And it was God who arranged for a Christian family in America to adopt Irena and her sister. Today, Irena serves with Operation Christmas Child, the same ministry that shared God’s love with her as an orphan.

Thinking that your best days are ahead does not require you to believe in the mystical powers of positive thinking. Optimism about tomorrow is well-founded. These three truths show you what I mean.

(1) Every morning you awake to the compassions of God. Even in the context of a book of laments the writer notes, “The Lord’s…compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23). Awake tomorrow knowing that with God, all things are possible.

(2) God is always at work in your life. “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” You experience this as a “partaker of grace” (Phil. 1:6-7). Tomorrow’s work in you brings more love, knowledge, and discernment.

(3) Yesterday’s sufferings do not diminish your ongoing purpose. Paul had considerable trials in his past yet he wrote, “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). Tomorrow is a better day when you hear the upward call and continue your mission to love God and neighbor.

The believer has reason to be a joyful optimist! You can see it in Irena’s life story. You can see it in your own faith journey. And if no other reason, the promise of eternity is reason enough to rejoice that your best days are ahead.