“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”Proverbs 13:12a
I’ve been sick the last three days. It started the day I was supposed to leave to go on a long-awaited week-long vacation to the beach. Things happened and I wasn’t able to go. I was disappointed to say the least. But, it made me realize I’ve put my expectation and hope in things that are not necessarily reliable.
I had expected one thing to happen and it didn’t. I hoped something else would happen and it fell through as well. The whole situation reminds me of something a friend told me years ago: “Expect the worst and hope for the best. You’ll always fall somewhere in-between and you’ll never be disappointed.” Sage advice.
Although it is possible to find contentment and joy on Earth, I think true contentment and joy can only come from putting our hope in God. He is the only one who has never and will never disappoint us. In fact, He’s already fulfilled our hope in Jesus.
As I prayed this morning and submitted my frustration and disappointment to Him, I remembered something I learned in church recently. The best resistance to the devil and to discouragement is the Word. I began looking up every verse on hope I could find and wrote down the ones which spoke to my situation. Here are a few:
- Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the one whose hope is in the Lord; whose confidence is in Him.
- Psalm 39:6-7 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”
- Psalm 42:5 “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
- Romans 5:5 “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.”
We can try with all our might to plan and put things together on our own, but God knows the ultimate outcome of every situation. I know He had a plan for my entire life from before the beginning, yet I find myself constantly worrying about tomorrow.
Worry is really doubting God’s plan and care for us. It’s probably why Peter tells us to, “Cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7),” and why in Philippians we are taught, “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God (4:6-7).”
No matter what else we put our trust in, it is all sinking sand. Nothing is certain; nothing is absolute. What a wonderful thing to hope and expect though, that there is One who IS certain and absolute; One who created the idea of those things and fulfills them in Himself. Christ Jesus is our solid Rock, our firm foundation, and the author and perfector of our faith.
The last part of the verse from Proverbs that says, “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” is, “but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” How precious to hope in Him!
Prayer: God help me in my weakness. When I focus on the disappointment and my expectations inevitably fail me, be my hope. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You, the author and perfector of my faith. Help me to remember You are faithful and have always been a tree of life to those who put their hope in You. I’m so thankful for the fulfillment of my hope in You by Your death on the cross for me and for my sins of worry. Please forgive me for being anxious. In Jesus’s name, Amen.