Ever wanted something, hoped for something, even though you knew, deep down, that it was unlikely or impossible?
I have. More than once. And it’s hard.
I’ve hoped for a relationship that isn’t mine to have.
I hope for friends who have blown up their lives to have a change heart and return to the Lord.
I hope that relationships that have drifted apart and changed for unknown reasons will be restored.
I hope I can be a successful advocate for the single moms I’ve come to love in a village in Uganda.
I hope I have “Teacher of the Year” days every day and that I love and teach my students well.
I hope for an e-mail from God that maps out the next 30-ish years of my life for me.
I hope for a lot of things that end in deferred hope because the hope is uncertain, misplaced.
See, hope is anxious expectation.
Like a kid at Christmas; they don’t know exactly what they’re getting, but they know they’re getting something and it’s gonna be good.
Uncertain hope is no hope at all. It’s the inconsistency upon which we build crumbling dreams and broken hearts.
Maybe you’ve experienced deferred hope, too. Maybe it had to do with a relationship, or a job, or any variety of things. Maybe you’ve made up stories in your head of what it might be if it was finally a reality one day.
Hope in the face of hopelessness can be the rope we hang on to in impossible situations. Healing. Salvation. Restoration. God things. Hope pulls us through.
But hope in the face of hopelessness can also be the rope we use to hang ourselves.
Hope in the face of hopelessness is not the problem, but the object of our hope may be.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Hope deferred can be misplaced hope.
If your hope lies in someone or something that may or may not ever actually be yours, that uncertainty can eat away at your soul.
What’s the simple, Sunday school answer to the problem?
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:4-5
But there is so much more to these verses than God, The Granter of Wishes.
When we delight in the Lord, He is the desire of our heart. And when He is the desire of our heart, no hope can be deferred, because all we have in Him is ours now.
So how to we heal a heart sick from deferred hope?
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Ps 42:5-6
Sometimes that means grieving the loss of that misplaced hope and realigning our hopes and dreams with God’s will for our lives.
Sometimes it means just giving it to Him as a the protector and keeper of your heart.
When our hope is in God, our hope will never be deferred. Our desires are altered and then fulfilled as we delight in Him and He is our tree of life.
Have you ever experienced a hope deferred? How did your heart heal?