August 24, 2015

Zechariah 9:12 Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

I understand that Hebrew prepositions can be somewhat indefinite. English translations have traditionally rendered this as “prisoners of hope,” but the Japanese gives it as “prisoners who have hope.” That makes a bit more sense to me! Hope is liberating, not binding. When we lose our hope, sometimes we fail to recognize God’s deliverance when it comes. Genuine hope in God involves both faith and trust, and as it says in Romans 9:33, “The one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” The reference to double restoration here strikes me as related to the “double portion” of inheritance that the oldest son received. There are many references, but one that comes to mind is when Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion before Elijah was taken up into heaven. (2 Kings 2:9) Taken that way, this is saying that the way to inherit what God has for us is to have hope/faith. That certainly fits in with Paul’s discourses on our spiritual inheritance, in Ephesians 1 and elsewhere. It all comes back to faith. 1 Corinthians 13:13 differentiates between faith and hope, but I personally don’t see how you can have genuine hope without faith, and faith without hope seems fatalistic at best.

I am in a training course in faith/hope that I never wanted or expected, because of my wife having a large, though benign, brain tumor, Parkinson’s disease, lumbar stenosis, and other medical problems. Daily living is a choice to trust, rather than despair or panic. Sometimes I feel it would be easier to deal with these things in myself! However, just as Paul did, I am finding that God’s grace is sufficient, (2 Corinthians 12:9) if I will trust enough to recognize it. This week we have an MRI for the tumor and the next day attend a lecture on the use of iPS cells to treat Parkinson’s, and then next week consult with her orthopedic surgeon about the possibility of surgery for the lumbar stenosis. I’ve got to be careful that my preconceptions don’t get in the way of hearing accurately what is being said, but most importantly, I need to listen to my God above and beyond anything people say to me. I need to remember that God’s plans are to prosper and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Father, thank You for Your grace, that is indeed sufficient. Thank You for all You allow me to experience to make me more like Jesus. I pray that I wouldn’t rebel or be resentful, but would rest, relax, and rejoice in You, so that You may be glorified as Your purposes for me are fulfilled. 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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