Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

I've been thinking a whole lot about the Proverb that says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." What does that mean?

I've come to the conclusion that it's talking about me this year--having my hope wrapped around whether or not circumstances will change (quickly) to bring peace to the storm and wholeness to what is broken. In essence, I want what God wants! Isn't He all about peace and wholeness? That's my "hope."

The "deferred" part is being disappointed at just about every turn. Because I'm so "hopeful" I watch every day for one tiny text message or phone call; or even a slight sigh that no one hears but me. And when I get that, I just KNOW my hope is about to be fulfilled--only to have that hope crushed as the next "big" thing moves me seemingly further away rather than closer to that which I'm hoping for.

I have a friend whose husband is determined to divorce her. She wants her marriage--he wants out. She is taking care of their 3 children (one who is autistic) and rallies prayer support. One day she's up because they plan to spend the weekend together; or they have a great phone conversation; or the family has some good family time. But the next day she's served papers; or receives notice of her 'day in court.'

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

There are two things that she and and I need to do now.

1. Stand on the promise God's given us for the one we love. Claim it; rejoice in it; thank God for it; and shout AMEN to it. Just this morning I read this in Lynn Cowman's devotional book Streams in the Desert, "Faith adds the "Amen" to God's "Yes" and then takes its hands off, leaving God to finish His work."

2. Release ourselves to pour GOOD STUFF into the family He's given us to love (our other 3) and ourselves! While God is meticulously and methodically working with what HE knows in the lives of those we thought we knew; we get to carry on. Carry on with living our lives to the glory of God--trusting Him to bind our gaping wounds and to provide us with strength, mercy, grace and everything else we need to deal with the "mean time."

The other day God asked me if I trusted Him. I said, "Yes, Lord. I do trust You." He then asked if I trusted Him no matter how long it might take to make good on His promise. I cried, and I sputtered and told Him how hard it is for me, and He reminded me of another old hymn,

"Have Thine Own Way, Lord, Have Thine Own Way...Hold O're my being absolute sway."

Absolute sway means whatever, wherever, however and whenever.

I told my friend that it stinks this "hope deferred" stuff. The wise person who first penned those words certainly knew what he was talking about: Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Sick unto death--a daily death. Dying daily to my losses and my offenses.

But dying daily paves the way also for a daily resurrection--a resurrection in believing that God backs His promises with His very own name. He'll come through for us, my friend! He has to. :)


Livvy said...

How do you get past a prayer that you prayed 24 years ago has gone unanswered. At one point, I left the church for 6 years but thank God, 2 years ago, I repented received forgiveness. Now, I find that the very thing that turned me away (my hope is still deferred) is trying to creep back. I became angry and bitter towards God but I don't want to go back to that place. I have quoted every scripture and I know, & it's not lack of faith; I can't stop the emotional feeling of rejection at times....I can't stop asking WHY?

Leighann said...

Dear Livvy,
I have some of those. All you can do is cry out to God like David did in the Psalms. Go ahead and pour your heart out to Him. Tell Him how hard it is to hold on and ask Him to help you. Also, be very still and very quiet and listen to learn.
To tell you the truth this blog was written nearly 2 years ago and while God is doing some great things, some other things have gotten worse. I'm learning to receive the blessings with the longings.God IS good and His goodness does flow even in the "mean time."
I have a new book coming out in 2013...watch for it, the title is "A Woman's Guide to Hearing God's Voice" I deal with exactly what you (and I) are struggling with.
I hope this encourages you! Check out my new blogs at www.leighannmccoy.org