While they are related, there is a difference between optimism and faith. People who are optimistic tend to expect the best. And they often get it. But optimism does not necessarily produce faith, in the classic sense of "The Word."

People who have faith find an assurance in things not seen. Their faith goes beyond the notion of optimism or expectation. ---Although faith, when it's exercised, usually produces optimism. This happens as we learn to rely on and trust in God's love for us. This does not mean, as some might suppose, that people who have a deep and abiding faith live charmed lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. People of faith have no fewer challenges than non-believers. But they often approach those challenges differently, finding growth and meaning in life's difficulties.

Faith means that we trust in God's unfolding plan for us, realizing that our plan for our lives may run contrary to what God expects of us. From our limited persepctive, we don't always know or appreciate what growth opportunities will help us become what we are capable of becoming. 

The meaning of our life's journey usually comes to us in spurts, rather than appearing to us etched on whole cloth. As Martin Luther King Jr observed, "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase."

When problems come, we put one foot in front of the other, and place our trust in God's love. Choose faith.