Have you ever wanted something really bad? So bad you could taste it? I remember trying out for Cheerleading for the 8th grade and waiting for the call to see if I made the squad….and I didn’t. Then trying out for 9th grade and not making it. Then trying out for 10th grade….and finally – I made the squad. Each year when I tried out and didn’t make it, I got so discouraged and then determined to keep practicing and keep trying out in hope that I would eventually make it. It took 3 years, but it finally happened. Waiting is no fun…
Have you ever wanted something really bad? So bad you could taste it? I remember trying out for cheerleading for the 8th grade and waiting for the call to see if I made the squad….and I didn’t. Then trying out for 9th grade and not making it. Then trying out for 10th grade….and finally – I made the squad.
Each year when I tried out and didn’t make it, I got so discouraged and then determined to keep practicing and keep trying out in hope that I would eventually make it. It took 3 years, but it finally happened.
Waiting is no fun. Waiting in line. Waiting to make the cheerleading squad. Waiting for a better job. Waiting for ______ (you fill in the blank with that thing you really want). I don’t know anyone who truly enjoys waiting. Do you?
And the longer we have to wait for something the less fun it becomes. We can get a little agitated. We can get a little edgy sometimes. We can even get a little depressed, like the psalmist did in Psalm 42.
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:5 and 6)
I’m so glad that God included the good, the bad and the ugly when writing the Word. He didn’t just show people’s highlights and mighty exploits. He also included a glimpse into the lows they experienced and how they dealt with it.
The longer we wait for something, the longer we hope for something, the more discouraged we can tend to get. And we will sometimes even pull out the ‘ole Proverbs 13 verse and wallow in it for a little bit.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
And we’ll tell ourselves, “Even the Bible says that I’ll feel like this. My hope is deferred. I can’t help but be heartsick.” Discouragement. Depression. Yuck!
But – that’s completely wrong. I don’t look at this verse as a go-ahead to feel discouraged and depressed because my hope is deferred. I look at it as a warning. “This is how the flesh responds to deferred hope. Don’t get sucked into it.”
“Why? How can I help it? I can’t help how I feel! It’s just been taking soooooo long. My hope IS deferred after all.”
Again, that’s completely wrong. Proverbs 13 doesn’t say dreams deferred make the heart sick. It doesn’t say answers to prayer deferred. It doesn’t say new job, desires, or new seasons deferred. It says HOPE deferred makes the heart sick.
Hope is a confident expectation of something. The only way hope can be deferred is if WE defer it. You heard me. It’s a control thing, and we have full control of our hope.
I didn’t say we can control when things happen. We can’t control our seasons. We don’t control exactly when what we hope for comes to pass or when we see faith turn to sight……but we have full control of our hope.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:5)
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:7)
But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:14)
May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:74)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1)
It’s a control thing. Our hope is ours alone to control, and it’s a choice whether we hold onto it or let it go. Whether we keep it fresh and alive and in God or whether we let waiting derail it.
Delayed dreams and desires and delayed answers and seasons do not have to make the heart sick if we choose to hold on to our hope. Delay is not denial…it’s just a matter of time. A matter of waiting in hope.
Don’t defer your hope today. Keep it firmly planted in God. He is faithful and will come through for you.
So do not throw away this confident trust (hope) in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)