Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
This well-known verse is obviously the reason this passage came up in this series on hope, but comparing the Japanese to the English shows the risks of doing Bible study based on a particular language, other than the original one. Since I don’t know Hebrew at all, I’m stuck with either English or Japanese, but I need to be aware of the problem and seek the Holy Spirit’s direct guidance, since He’s the Author, anyway. Here, where English translations very consistently say “hope deferred,” the Japanese says, “expectation prolonged,” and where the NIV says “longing,” the Japanese says “hope.” The spiritual/psychological principle still applies, whatever vocabulary is used. When we want something badly but don’t get it for a long time, we definitely go downhill emotionally. Likewise, a long-held but unfulfilled desire being met is a huge boost psychologically. There are countless videos on the Internet of things like a child getting a puppy when they had wanted one for a long time, or people being reunited after a long separation, and some of them are very touching. However, not all such strong desires are actually met, which shows us the importance of where we place our hopes and expectations. The only One who never lets us down is God, as Paul points out in Romans 5:5. The answer, I think, is to understand that there’s a lot of junk in this fallen world, and simply be grateful for all the gracious blessings God pours out on us.
I’m in the middle of more training in this, and I don’t expect to “graduate” from such training until I graduate to heaven! The past several days I’ve been through an emotional wringer over computer issues, and this morning in sitting down to write out these notes I discovered that I have still further issues to deal with. Frankly, it’s exhausting. I need to learn the lesson of not basing my hopes on anything material, but rather on my Lord who is alone totally dependable. The point there, though, is that I’m not to try to dictate to God how He should meet my needs. Jesus famously didn’t do that in the Garden of Gethsemane, and my needs are certainly less important and less intense than His were in that moment. As He told me personally, now several years ago, I need to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, not in anything temporal.
Father, thank You for this training I’m going through, however uncomfortable it might feel in the moment. Thank You for the encouragement in Hebrews: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) May I continue to grow as You intend, to be more and more available and useful to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!