Today's Word of Encouragement

Cautious Optimism

March 24, 2020

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power  (1 Corinthians 4:17-20).

I am encouraged today by this morning’s report of progress being made on several fronts in our country. As of this writing the stock market is up 1,600 points. I understand a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus has been developed, and in a few weeks we may be seeing very positive results. I am also encouraged that a number of ‘higher ups’ indicate the current restrictions enacted by the government may be modified if not lifted. All of this is good news, if it is valid news.

Many years ago my father taught me to ‘expect the best, but plan for the worst’. He was not being negative - he was being a ‘realist’. He was telling me to practice ‘cautious optimism’. The word ‘optimism’ means the feeling of being hopeful about the future or about the success of something in particular. The word ‘cautious’ means one’s attitude or reaction is limited or careful. So, ‘cautious optimism’ is a feeling of general confidence regarding a situation and/or its outcome coupled with a readiness for possible difficulties or failure.

Some may think there is no place in the Christian mind for ‘cautious optimism’, that Christians should always be optimistic, that ‘cautious optimism’ is a lack of faith. Angus Harrison says cautious optimism is “the perfect non-committal response for deeply uncertain times” and that it’s “all anybody is capable of feeling at the moment.”

In 1 Corinthians 4:17-20 the Apostle Paul states the attitude every follower of Jesus Christ should have every day, regardless of circumstances. “I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills.” It is the same attitude the Apostle James said Christians should have regarding the future (James 4:13-15), “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’.”

I am grateful for the optimistic news coming out of Washington D.C. I am grateful there is a realistic hope that this pandemic will not be as critical on a national scale as what was initially thought. I continue to pray the Covid-19 crisis may last 4-6 weeks instead of 4-6 months. But I am trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ day by day, week by week, and following the leadership of His Holy Spirit to guide me and my family through the unknown tomorrows.

Pastor Martin

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