Psalm 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
I keep running into what I consider a deficiency in most English Bibles in how they translate what seems to be a common Biblical expression. Time and time again I read things like “put my hope in,” as here, or “wait,” in places like Isaiah 40:31 (in most translations, even though the NIV says “hope” there, too). There is a Japanese expression that is used in almost all those places that I think must be a close analog of the Hebrew, because it fits so perfectly, and it’s not difficult to put it into English: “wait in hope,” or “wait expectantly.” Just waiting can be sterile indeed, and hoping without being willing to wait is essentially demanding that God act on our schedule. Neither of those sound like God’s will to me! The Japanese for the second half of this verse translates back to English as, “I wait expectantly for Your Word.” That to me seems a much more fitting response when we cry out to God. If we don’t expect Him to answer, why pray?
This verse actually hit me this morning because I indeed got up before dawn this morning, and it’s still dark right now. We had a typhoon last night, and completely lost a storage shed to it. The metal shed was ripped from the base and folded like paper, flying into the fence and car of a neighbor. After the peak passed, I dragged the folded shed from the neighbor’s property to ours, but could do no more. Once it gets light I will need to take pictures of the folded shed, the pile of stuff that was in the shed, and the damage to our neighbor’s fence and car, in hopes that our insurance will cover at least some of it. I’ve never made a claim on that insurance before! Last night in the middle of it all I was the calm one, as compared to my wife, but this morning my mind is full of things I need to do from this point. What complicates things is that I’m scheduled to leave for an overnight coaching conference at 8:00! That may well be delayed, which will probably be just as well, to give the expressway time to be reopened after the typhoon. I am certainly asking God for help in doing all that needs to be done, but I have great peace and assurance that He will indeed supply that help, when and as I need it. I’ve learned that when I depend on God, I can indeed wait expectantly for His answers.
Father, thank You for Your Word. It’s what I get up for every morning! Thank You for Your faithfulness to speak to me every day, and through the day. Thank You for all that You are doing in this church, in and through us individually and in our dynamics as a body. May we rejoice to wait expectantly for Your plans to be manifested in and through us, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!