One of the big things that I realized during the past week is the difference between hoping and expecting. At first it may seem to be of no big deal, that the difference is so obvious so why make a fuss about it? What difference is new?
On the other hand, I’ve realized a great difference that most of us, that I, fail to recognize. I thought I was hoping, yet, I was expecting. I thought I was hoping when I hoped to pass an exam. However, I was expecting. I was expecting to pass the exam. I thought it was hope when I hoped someone to listen to me, but I expected someone to listen to me.
Confusing? Yes, it is. The main catch here is that we don’t hope with the end-product as what we want. We hope for God’s will to unfold. I remember listening very intently when a brother whom I look up to shared that he just puts his hope in the Lord. I was waiting what he was hoping for. His dad had an operation last week and was tested. The results would come out this week and it will either be cancer again, or another thing (I forgot what but definitely much lighter than cancer). He did not say “I hope in the Lord that when the results come out, the findings will say that my dad is alright.” On the other hand, he said, “I hope in the Lord that whatever the results may be, that is the will of the Lord.” The first one would be expecting, hoping what we wanted, in the end, we will be greatly disappointed. The second one was hoping.
The general picture is that the situation would be better. Of course, God’s plan for us is “to prosper and not harm us.” God did not tell us that it would be according to what we want, that it would be all comforts. We must remember that God’s way of thinking is way different from ours. What we must do is to seek Him, His words and messages for us in everything that’s happening to us. Everything was made to make us better persons, better children of God, leading into perfection in the likeness of Christ. That is why after God declares His plan for us, He tells us how this plan will be fulfilled in the next verse.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Because God made me realize this, I know now that I must me cautious, especially in hoping. This way, I will be protected from causing harm to myself. This way, I will be taken away from the risk of guilt and self-unforgiveness.