Hope is powerful. When we have hope, we are placing a confident expectation of what God has promised to us. Our hope is founded on the Word of God and grounded on His faithfulness to keep His word. Hope, then, is akin to trust, placing a certainty that God will do what He said He would do.
There’s a verse on hope that reminds us of what happens when we lose it and encourages us to sustain through it.
Proverbs 13:12 – “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”
Let’s just stop there since, too many times, that’s what we do when we lose hope. Imagine something that you have hoped for that has not, yet, come to fruition…
o Are you still interceding about that what you do not have?
o Do you have an intense longing or desire that has not been realized yet?
o Is there something that you have asked others to intercede, in prayer, on your behalf?
Hopefully, the answer is yes. Yet the reality of the struggles we face, the hardships that get in the way, and the criticism of voices, can leave us feeling not so hopeful. Hope deferred happens when the timing of what you have wanted did not happen. The result can leave us feeling…
o An unwanted sense of loss and grief
o Deep discouragement
o A sense of compliancy that everything will always remain the same
o Bitterness towards God and a lack of trust towards Him
It’s easy to give up on the promise that God has given especially if weeks, months, and years go by without seeing the actualization of what you are holding onto. When hope is put off, the heart is not well as it remains cold, bitter, and hurting.
From personal experience, I’ve had to walk with a greater degree of hope in recent times when it comes to expanding my family. My wife and I have not had children yet (definitively short of the timing when we thought we should). It can be quite easy for us to fall into the trap of hopelessness and not believe what the Lord has promised us. To be honest, some months have been filled with raw emotion as the realization of not seeing our heart’s desire come to fruition. I have a deeper understanding of this verse, now, than a few years ago, because of our current situation.
Thankfully, I do not need to remain in a state of frustration or say that my prayers are finished. Instead, I cling to the next part of the verse, which is also an encouragement for you…
…but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
I appreciate what the musician, Rick Pino, said about this part of the verse. Why is it called a tree of life? Well, one thing we know is that a tree starts as a seed. Seeds take time to grow. In fact, if you planted an avocado tree, you would not see the fruit from that tree until 10-15 years later. That’s a long time to wait!
What does all this mean? The point is that promises from God always start in seed form. They need time to mature, grow, and blossom. As humans, we want the promise right away. But that’s not how God works! Instead, His timing is the best timing. Many times, there’s the waiting needed before the promise comes to fruition.
Think about it this way – If the promise is like the avocado tree – 10 years – imagine if you gave up on your promise on year 3? Year 6? Year 9 and 364 days before? How sad that would be! You would not be able to eat from the ‘tree of life’ – the promise God gave to you all because hope was deferred. Giving up simply because it had not come to be in your timing.
The Lord is wanting to grow us in character and, many times, that is attached to the promises He gives to us. Therefore, my encouragement to you, as well to myself, is this: Keep pressing into that which God has promised you. Ask others to intercede for you and be fervent in your prayer for His promise… even if it has been years! He holds every tear in His hands and knows the pain that you are going through. Just don’t give up and don’t lose hope – for it could be next week, month, or year when you’ll be experiencing that which you have held onto… the tree of life.
For this week, take time to revisit the promises God has given you. Are there promises that you have ‘shelved’ because you didn’t see it come to fruition? Are there promises that you are barely clinging onto? Sit with the Lord and ask Him to speak to you regarding that what you believe is a promise from Him. If it helps, share with someone you trust so they can also intercede for you and be a source of encouragement to keep you hopeful. My hope is that you will be stirred by the Holy Spirit to continue pressing in and that, in due time, I can hear of your powerful testimony in what God did because you didn’t give up.
Have a blessed week!