Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov. 13:12
I’ve been reading in Proverbs this summer—So much good advice, so much I haven’t followed. Sometimes I’ve felt guilty—wondered why anyone would want to read these words—wondered how they all fit together to bring us to a loving God Who redeems. Yet they do.
This morning, this verse, resonated with me. In my nearly 60 years, I’ve found it so true. When we have our heart set—when we wish for “it” (whatever that is) so badly, and it vanishes like the mist over the mountains on a Colorado summer morning—it is so discouraging.
It makes me feel isolated and lost—regardless of how much those who love me come along side. Maybe you have or do feel so down this morning. One moment the hope is there—so close you could pull it into your heart. Then—in an instant that epiphany, that phone call, that decision dissolves it before your very eyes.
Hope deferred truly does make the heart sick.
Yet, deferred means “not yet.” It doesn’t mean “not ever.”
Isn’t it wonderful the significance that one word can carry? Deferred means not yet, which gives all the more glory to the second part of the verse: a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
No one can have a longing fulfilled who hasn’t had a hope deferred.
The very waiting has purpose.
I have seen it in my own life and others a multitude of times.
I’m learning to rest in the waiting. It’s been a long road—60 years. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the green in winter when all seemed dead and lost. Maybe I’m just numb. Yet, even so, it’s easy to lose hope.
If you’re heartsick today, lift up [your] eyes to the hills no longer covered in mist. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps. 121:1-2
I often think of these verses when my heart is sick. They help me to have hope when hope is deferred. And I want to remember them, too, in the day of rejoicing, because a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.