“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is the tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
What is hope? According to Webster’s dictionary, it is “desire with expectation.” We all have different hopes. They might center around our children, our future, our desire to serve the Lord, our health, our finances or numerous other possibilities.
The one thing these hopes have in common is that heartfelt desire that they happen. Some of our hopes are merely carnal, but many hopes have been embedded in our hearts by the Lord.
So we pray – sometimes for years – and often it seems as if the Lord has not heard those prayers. Discouragement creeps in and we start to believe that what we hope for will never happen. We wonder if the situation will ever change.
However, change does occur. As we pray the Lord is changing us! Fervent prayer enables us to focus on His goodness, faithfulness and trustworthiness. Christ focused prayer empowers us – through it we can jettison self.
No longer are we merely praying for what we hope for, but instead we ask for Him to change us. Lord, while I wait please help me to be more patient, understanding, compassionate, forgiving. Lord, give me wisdom in what You want me to do now, even while my hope is deferred.
In my life, some of the most powerful fulfillments of “when the desire comes” have taken years. As I learned to wait and not be anxious, the Lord changed me; so that when my desire came to pass, I was in the place where I could truly receive it and His subsequent blessings.
I think when answers to prayer take time, we are more appreciative of what the Lord has done. That is not to say that a quicker answer is not valued, but if all our prayers were answered immediately how could our faith and trust grow?
So many times I think people focus on “when the desire comes it is the tree of life.” They are only looking forward to the happy outcome.They could inadvertently miss the important, growing, intermediate phase. What if the Lord is warning us to not allow a deferred hope to make our heart sick?
We do have that choice. While I wait I can be discouraged and become bitter or I can trust that the Lord knows my “big picture.” He sees the front side of my life’s tapestry. We often only focus on the messy, tangled, interwoven obvious threads on the backside.
As always it is our choice. Once again I ask, “Which will you choose?”