"Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap" (Ecclesiastes 11:4); ("If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done" TLB.)
If we wait until we are sure our kindness won't be ridiculed and that it will accomplish what we intended, we won't be kind; if we don't give needed money to another person until we know what the person will do with it, and we know the history of the individual who is to receive it, we will never give it; if we wait for someone to be worthy of our love, we will never be his or her friend; and if we want to be sure that our donation for a project will not be mismanaged and that it will bring forth the good we intend, then we will never get around to donating. In the secular world we are content to act on possibilities, so why not in the world of religion and ethics?
We are to be prospective, not prostrate, about our duties. Jesus tells us we are to have forethought: "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" (Luke 14:28). This is common sense. But we are not to think something to extinction because we haven't all the resources at hand right then. If we concentrate too much on the trial and the black cloud, then we won't act now on what later will bring a harvest of sunrises and rainbows and surprises. Sometimes there comes a moment when we must forge ahead in faith that "[our] strength will equal [our] days" (Deuteronomy 33:25).
The clouds are beyond our reach; what we have before us is attainable. There is a comfortable median between the extremes of optimism and pessimism; it is called realism, and faith is a comfortable fundamental of this fact. Instead of worrying about successes others have and we don't have, let us be ever so grateful for God's cornucopia of blessings that we already have and that we enjoy every day!