Waiting in Hope; January 21, 2018

Isaiah 40:30-31 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

These two verses are so extremely famous that when I started reading I was fairly determined I would write on a different part of the passage, but they were so extremely applicable to our present situation that I knew God was speaking them to me. God really does speak to us through familiar Scriptures as well as through ones we haven’t really noticed before, so there is every reason to keep reading the Bible regularly regardless of how familiar it might be. I’ll confess to burning out a bit on the Christmas story, but even there, further reflection on the miracle of the Incarnation never hurts. As far as these two verses go, they have been set to music numerous times, so probably a large number of Christians are familiar with them. However, they are an example of the fact that every language has some things that are easier to express in it than in other languages. Japanese has a standard expression that means, “wait in hope.” This passage is traditionally rendered in English as “wait upon the Lord,” but the NIV at least picks up on the “hope” part of it. Why English translators don’t use the compound, “wait in hope,” is a mystery to me. Just waiting is passive, but hope is active. Far too many people wait because they have given up hope and can do nothing else. That is hardly a source of strength. Walking and running and flying aren’t passive activities! God doesn’t want us giving up in exhaustion, He wants us to trust in Him so that we will receive His strength to move forward in His good plans for us. That’s what faith and hope are for.

The past year and a half has been a period of rather intense training for us in this area, and we haven’t seen the end of it yet. God gave us the vision of a senior-care facility several years ago, and it looked like it was going to come about. However, one thing after another came in, and we were really tied in knots. At this point we have purchased one plot of land, but it’s not big enough for the facility we have envisioned. To our knowledge, the two adjoining plots haven’t yet been sold, but we have no idea when or how God might supply the funds to get them, or, for that matter, to build the facility itself once we have the land. In the process of all of that, people have left the church, shrinking our already very small congregation. However, God has used all these circumstances to train us to lift our eyes to Him, and that’s very good. That’s what “waiting in hope” is all about! Yesterday a young man in the church came and helped me shovel and rake gravel to make the land we purchased usable as a parking lot. That was an answer to prayer on several levels, because he has been distracted from attending church for most of the period I’ve just been talking about. In between and after the hard labor, he and I were able to do some very good talking, and it was a huge encouragement to us both, I think. The point is, God is still God, and He is more than worthy of our total faith and trust. When we have that firmly in our hearts, waiting isn’t a burden.

Father, thank You for all that You are doing. Thank You for all that happened yesterday, and for all that You are going to do today. Even with what I am aware of, that’s a lot! Thank You that You are working constantly, and that Your plans are perfect. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

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