Waiting in Hope; October 21, 2022

Isaiah 25:9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Yesterday I wrote about how emotionally exhausting it can be to have prophetic visions, but hearing things like this from the Lord could certainly make it all worth it! This chapter as a whole is about the defeat of Moab, which existed as a thorn in Israel’s side down through the centuries, and this verse is expressing the result of that from the perspective of God’s people. It wasn’t current reality at the point it was delivered, but it was certainly an encouragement to do as this verse says, to trust in God. Where the NIV uses “trusted,” (not at all a bad word in this context) the Japanese uses an expression that is quite common in all Japanese translations of the Bible that translates literally as “wait in hope.” That’s something we all need to do better! In the middle of it, waiting can be quite a trial, but as Isaiah famously recorded later in his book, “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.” (Isaiah 40:31) I’ve never figured out why English Bibles don’t say, “wait in hope,” but instead use just one of those two words. The KJV uses “wait,” but just waiting doesn’t seem to have much redeeming virtue. It is when waiting is done in hope and expectation that it becomes bearable. Christians have a glorious hope, as Paul expressed repeatedly, (Colossians 1:27, Titus 2:13) and the better we grasp that, the easier it is to wait for it patiently. After all, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

As I have been writing, my wife and I have been going through yet more training in this for some time. There have been some really rough spots, but it seems she had her best night’s sleep last night since her surgery almost three weeks ago, and yesterday the staff were making very encouraging remarks about her progress and the prospects of her coming home. Whether we will get a specific date for that today remains to be seen, but the prospect is exciting. The thing is, we have had such training exercises many times over the years, and they’re never much fun. That said, the hope is real and certain, quite above and beyond temporal considerations like getting out of the hospital. When our focus is on our eternal Lord, not so much on what He has prepared for us but on His presence in us even right now, then our troubles indeed can seem “light and momentary,” to use Paul’s expression. That’s the way to have the peace that Jesus wants for us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Father, thank You for this reminder. It was indeed encouraging to read Cathy’s text this morning saying she had just woken up (and not been awake all night) and that she shouldn’t be bothered because the nurses told her she was first on her doctor’s rounds this morning. That said, help us both keep our focus and hope on You, rather than on anything the doctor might say. May we indeed learn all that You want to teach us through this, to be more and more transformed into the likeness of Your Son, 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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