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Pollyanna's 'Glad Game' Versus True Hope

The 1960 film Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills, based on the novel by Eleanor H. Porter, written in 1913 was released. The lead character's full name was Pollyanna Whittier. After the death of her parents she went to live with her wealthy but rather unpleasant Aunt Polly in Vermont. The approach Pollyanna took to life was highly optimistic, to say the least. She called it "The Glad Game". Regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself, you must always find something to be glad about. Pollyanna first thought of the game when instead of a doll for Christmas she ended up with only a pair of crutches. She made up the game on the spot, determined to look on the bright side of things. In this case, she was glad she had crutches because she didn't need to use them! And that's something to be glad about!

Playing "the glad game" is about the only thing that enabled Pollyanna to survive in the house of her Aunt. When she is confined in the attic, she is "glad" that there is at least a beautiful view from a high window. When she is punished for being late and her dinner is only bread and milk, she is again "glad" because she at least has something to eat.

Pollyanna's philosophy of life is genuinely put to the test when she is hit by a car and loses the use of both legs. Lying in bed, she comes to grips with the severity of her situation. But instead of falling into depression or bitterness, she decides she can at least be glad that she has her legs, even if they don't do her much good. Pollyanna eventually is sent to a hospital where she learns to walk again and thus once more finds a good reason to be glad.

Possible Preaching Angles: Pastor Sam Storms asks, "So, is this how a Christian is supposed to view life and adversity and heartache? Does God ask us to play our own version of 'The Glad Game' in order to cope and survive in a fallen and corrupt world?" Although we can commend Pollyanna for not complaining, "The Glad Game" is a far cry from true biblical hope. Biblical hope isn't wishful thinking; it's an act of trust in the bedrock promises of God.

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