Waiting in Hope; March 8, 2022


Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”

This is rightly one of the most famous verses in the Book of Job. It is a declaration of absolute faith and trust in God, not only that He is but that He is righteous and fair and just. Job has too much assurance of his own innocence for my taste, but I don’t want to be like one of his three friends! This verse is another example of a phrase that occurs often in the Old Testament that is translated consistently in Japanese but not so consistently in English. I have a friend who got his doctorate in Hebrew, and he says that the Hebrew word indeed is close to the Japanese. Here the NIV says “hope,” but in various other places it uses “wait.” The Japanese expression is, “wait in hope.” It is entirely possible to wait in resignation, and it is possible to hope impatiently. Job would be very happy if God were to resolve his situation instantly, but that in itself is not part of his hope. His hope is rather in the character of God, who will not be false to Himself. I think we all have moments of impatience, and we all have times when our hope is a bit wobbly. Job is our example here, not knowing when the situation will be resolved but trusting in God even at the cost of his life, if need be. In a sense, this is the heart of a martyr, and we can all learn from it.

I have certainly had my moments of impatience, and I have had times when hope seemed too dim. However, I had the example of my parents, who trusted God in pre-war Japan, in a period of my mother being in the US with my oldest sister while my father was interned in Japan, in dealing with prejudice and red tape while they ministered in Relocation Centers in the US for the rest of the war, ministering in Hawaii after VJ Day until they were allowed to return to Japan, and then ministering in post-war Japan. I didn’t arrive until after their return to Japan, but that was who my parents were and what they were made of. I learned from them to wait in hope! Even so, on at least one occasion my father prostrated himself on the floor and cried out, “God, if I’m standing in the way of revival in Japan, then take me out of the way!” He had visited the Shantung Revival in China before WW2, and he knew what revival looked like. When he visited, he didn’t know that God was preparing Chinese believers for the war and then for the Communists. As he dealt with the slow “rate of return” in Japan, he had to realize that he couldn’t see the future, so he had to trust God with it. Exactly the same thing applies to me. I too want to see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Japan, but I have got to wait in hope, because I certainly can’t make it happen on my schedule. What I can do, however, is to keep myself available for however God wants to use me in what He is doing, for His glory.

Father, thank You for all that You are doing. Help me indeed wait in hope on You, knowing that Your plans are always good, (Jeremiah 29:11) and not trying to dictate to You when and how they are to take place. 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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