“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12, NIV 2011).
My wife and I were praying after dinner tonight. We came to pray for my daughter, now 36 with a very difficult past due to relationships based on the heart rather than the Lord. She is now dating a man who loves the Lord and is treating her with the love and respect she deserves. I was intrigued by the words my wife chose to hold our daughter up to God, “We come to you with guarded optimism….”
What is this thing called “hope?” Is it the thing my wife called “guarded optimism?”
If “guarded” means we are not sure to be hopeful, then such words for my wife and me are but a way to protect our hearts should our daughter suffer again. This is not Christian hope.
If, however, “guarded” means “we know who guards the future,” then our understanding rests in the center of our Christian faith.
It is so much harder to trust God to take care of those we love than to trust Him to care for ourselves. We are so used to fixing things. Our concept of “good” for those we love rests on our ability to sort things out and make them right. But, if our loved ones are “guarded” only by our abilities, we will all someday slide into despair.
Thank God He is the one who guards the ones we love, even when it seems hopeless. God loves and God can. Therefore, though we give up at times, we can indeed look at the future with guarded optimism: guarded by His love, guarded by His power, guarded by His plan, and guarded by hope.
Thank you for the hope that rests on you.