By Christine F. Perry, Crosswalk.com
Hope Deferred and Hope Fulfilled
By Christine Perry
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12 NKJV
We have two choices when we encounter a delayed answer or an extended waiting period. We can flounder, or we can choose to trust and follow. We can get heartsick when we hope and wait for our circumstances to change. Especially when things seem never to change, we can easily fall into discouragement and question God. This is when the floundering starts.
Henry Blackaby says, "Never allow your heart to question God's love. Settle it on the front end of your quest to know and experience Him: He loves you. Every dealing He has with you expresses His love for you. God would not be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love! What you believe about God's love for you will be reflected in how you relate to Him. If you really believe God is love, you will also accept that His will is always best." If God loves you and His will is best, our hope is anchored in Him and His character. Psalm 84:11 NKJV says,
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
God is our father. He knows what we need when we need it. He also knows where we need to be and when. We can only see what is right in front of us. He can see the entirety of our story and all of human history. Friends, He knows what He is doing.
Intersecting Life and Faith
It's tempting to look around and see what others have that we do not. But when we focus on who God is, we realize He is:
- Good (Psalm 107:1)
- Kind (Psalm 145:17)
- Patient (Joel 2:13)
- [God is] For us (Romans 8:31)
- All-knowing (Job 37:15-16)
- Unchanging (Malachi 3:6)
- Compassionate (Exodus 34:6)
- Good to those who wait for Him (Lamentations 3:25-26)
- A mighty warrior who sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17)
Lastly, God is our hope (Romans 15:13)! He is the one we can anchor ourselves to. Although His ways don't always make sense to us, He is steadfast. He promises never to leave us or forsake us. When we focus on God, trust Him, and ask Him to help our unbelief, we begin to see He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. But don't take my word for it. Instead, read Psalm 139 to see how well God knows you and how much He loves you. The truth is, God truly loves you. He wants your best. Our definition and His definition of best don't always align. But God wants to work out the greatest amount of good for the longest time. God is in this for the long haul, whereas we only look for answers to our immediate situation.
Today, I want to encourage you to do an assignment. I want you to write a letter to yourself. In that letter, I want you to write down God's characteristics with a verse to back it up. It can look similar to the list above. However, I want you to list the characteristics you struggle to believe. If you're in a season of disappointment or loss, it can be hard to see God as good, but this is where the rubber hits the road. If you don't believe God's Word is true, you won't believe God is good. But if God's Word is true, everything He says is true! So, when He says He is good, He is good despite our devastating circumstances. After you've written the letter, read it back to yourself as much as you need to be reminded. At the end of the day, every unfulfilled longing can only be filled and satisfied in Christ. He is the one who gives us hope through who He is. Cling to Christ. He will not disappoint. We will flourish under His tender-loving care.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dean_Fikar
Christine is just a lady who was given the gift of being raised in an incredible family. For reasons unknown to her, God has blessed her with an amazing life full of beautiful friendships, remarkable experiences, and a love from Him that is completely underserved. She desires to encourage others and share hope as we journey through the highs and lows of life. Christine is the author of How I Met Peace and For the Weary Life Traveler, a 31-day devotional.
Want to grow your prayer life? The So Much More Podcast shows you how to create space to be with God. This podcast, hosted by Jodie Niznik, introduces you to two types of scripture experiences: Lectio Divina and Imaginative Prayer. Join our growing prayer community today!