Can You Dare to Hope with a Prodigal?

I have the privilege of being in a prayer community of people who love prodigals.  They have or have had loved ones who wandered far from God--and them, usually--and they pray for each other.  Periodically I get to write a letter to encourage all of us.  Perhaps you or someone you know needs such encouragement.  So here is my most recent Letter to Lovers of Prodigals.Dear Lover of Prodigals, Hope.  Newness.  Resolutions.  Promise fulfilled.  Past forgiven. A new year lifts us up, shaking off the remnants of last year’s mistakes, opening a panorama of a better future.  We love to leave the hurts and failures of yesterday, believing that tomorrow is filled with sunshine and promise. Except, when you love a prodigal.  Too often fears win out.  You hope, but you dare not “get your hopes up.”  You dream, hoping it doesn’t once again become a nightmare.  You believe, but always with clouds of doubt blocking the brightness you desire. We have had some wonderful stories of hope fulfilled and dreams coming true among those we have loved and prayed for this past year.  We are so grateful, and praise fills our hearts and our mouths. We have also had disappointments, bad choices, painful separations, even tragedies.  Hopefully even in those we can say, “Thank You, Lord.” Because we have faithful Father, a compassionate Savior and a powerful Holy Spirit.  And the assurance that all the promises of God are “Yes!” in Jesus. Can we have hope for the new year?  Assuredly so!  Will all our desires and dreams come to pass?  Assuredly no.  Will our prodigals break our hearts again.  Likely so.  Will we make mistakes as we seek to restore and reconcile?  Without a doubt. The only certainty we have is in God. He knows:  He knows your plans, your prayers for next year.  He knows the choices your loved one will make.  He knows His grand plan and how all this works together. He cares:  He looks at them and at us with tender tears.  He feels the rejection, the loss, the torment, the disappointment.  He stays with us through it all. He is able:  He is not a God who wishes He could help.  He can.  He is El Shaddai, the Almighty.  He rules heaven and earth.  And our lives.  He said that NOTHING is impossible for Him. So my challenge to you, to myself, is to make God Himself the object of my new year hopes and dreams.  To seek Him above all.  To entrust my prodigal and myself into His loving and able care.  To surrender my plans, to believe His very good intentions, to trust His Spirit to give me everything I need with my loved one in the coming year. May His grace flow over you. Judy