July 24, 2016

Psalm 119:49 Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.

The more times I read through Psalm 119 the richer it gets for me. This time I’m taking it in 16-verse segments, but there are always multiple verses that speak to me strongly, which leaves me at something of a loss as to what to focus on for writing. Sometimes when one of the Bible writers asks God to remember what He has said it is rather accusatory, because circumstances don’t seem to reflect what the writer had heard from or about God. I don’t get that feeling here. Rather, the writer is himself remembering what God has said to him, and that gives him hope. The Japanese here, as in many other places where English Bibles say either “wait” or “hope,” uses a compound expression that means, “wait in hope.” I find that very descriptive of how we are to be, because we don’t see things from God’s perspective, especially in terms of time. That’s why there are so many places where we are told to wait. When we understand that this isn’t just killing time, the waiting gets much easier. An excellent example is Isaiah 40:31. Traditionally that is rendered as “wait on the Lord.” The NIV switches that to “hope in the Lord,” but the Japanese wraps it all up as “wait in hope on the Lord.” That’s how I want to be! It’s not passive by any means, but it’s not anxious and it’s not impatient. When we get to that place in our faith, all sorts of weights and problems fall away from our hearts and we are set free to enjoy the goodness of the Lord.

This is an area where the Lord keeps giving me lesson after lesson, which is an indication I haven’t learned it well enough yet! I still appropriate far too much anxiety, when that’s something the Lord has told me not to touch. There are many issues for which I don’t see the solution, but I know that God has the perfect solution. The difficulty is in trusting Him enough to refuse anxiety. That is true for health issues, it is true for interpersonal relationships, it is true for ministry/church issues. (Often those categories overlap.) I am to remember what God has said to me, especially through His Word but also in other ways, and wait in hope and peace for His plans to be manifested on His schedule for His glory.

Father, You know all the issues that are weighing on me right now, and You know how meaningless my anxiety about any of them is. Keep me from confusing “waiting in hope” with being fatalistic. Help me have joyful anticipation of what You are going to do, whenever and however You are going to do it. Keep me from trying to dictate to You what the solutions should be to all these situations, but keep me also from being passive and/or presumptuous. May I trust You fully and so keep myself fully available for however You want to use me as part of Your solution to anything, so that Your Name alone may be recognized as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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