Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for rains and beautiful sunshine. The sky is so clear after a day of rain. Thank God for a great celebration event last night. Close to five hundred people came to share our joy in seeing His guidance for Gospel Operation International. May God continue to do His great work through this mission agency! God is shaping His people through His work throughout the globe. Sometimes He humbled us by His divine intervention. Sometimes He molded us by using difficult circumstances or afflictions. Whatever means God may use the goal remains the same – make us godly and Christ like.
We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Romans 5:3-5). It is essential to distinguish between hoping and wishing. They are not the same thing.
Wishing is something all of us do. It projects what we want or think we need into the future. Just because we wish for something good or holy we think it qualifies as hope, it does not. Wishing extends our egos into the future; hope desires what God is going to do—and we don’t yet know what that is.
Wishing grows out of our egos; hope grows out of our faith. Hope is oriented toward what God is doing; wishing is oriented toward what we are doing. Wishing has to do with what I want in things or people or God; hope has to do with what God wants in me and the world of things and people beyond me.
Wishing is our will projected into the future, and hope is God’s will coming out of the future. Picture it in your mind: wishing is a line that comes out of me, with an arrow pointing into the future. Hoping is a line that comes out of God from the future, with an arrow pointing toward me.
Hope means being surprised, because we don’t know what is best for us or how our lives are going to be completed. To cultivate hope is to suppress wishing—to refuse to fantasize about what we want, but live in anticipation of what God is going to do next.
I appreciated the insight that Eugene Peterson shared with us. A lot of time, we are confused with these two words – hoping and wishing. We thought they are interchangeable, but his explanation helps clarify the two. We tend to hope for what we wish. When we do not get what we wish for we give up hope. This distinction is very helpful. The author of Hebrews said, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). If hope desires what God is going to do in our lives, we remains hopeful in the One who knows what is better for our lives, and are in full control of what will come before us. We struggle with the calling of God for our lives when we focus on what we wish than what we hope in Him.
Please remember our international staff retreat in the coming three days. Afterward, I will be flying to Philippines to speak in mission conference and missionary retreat. Pray that God will make me a channel of His blessings to the brothers and sisters in Philippines.
With Love in Him,