It’s been said that a person can live about 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about 8 minutes without oxygen, and about 1 second without hope!
Proverbs 13:12 was written by Solomon who experienced his share of disappointment in life (read Ecclesiastes 2:1-26). I believe every human being can relate to Solomon’s observation, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
Hope deferred! That punch in the gut feeling. Hope deferred! The wind just went out of your sails feeling. Hope deferred! Knocked down by disappointment, wondering if you have what it takes to get back up on your feet again.
So what do you do when that which you hoped for doesn’t happen?
- Someone else gets the job or the promotion
- The promised raise never comes through
- The relationship doesn’t work out
- The medical test results come back wrong
First of all, take a step back from the situation and ask yourself if that which you were hoping for is within God’s will for your life. Sometimes we hope for things we shouldn’t hope for. Maybe God didn’t want you in that job. He has something better. Maybe the relationship wasn’t His will. God sometimes closes doors for our own good. Think about that.
Secondly, understand that God can use disappointment to develop character in our lives. Disappointment reveals character. It can also develop it. Hope deferred presents the opportunity to trust God when you don’t understand. It presents the opportunity to grow in faith in the midst of heartache. Hope deferred provides the opportunity for God to make all things work together for good in your life as a believer (Romans 8:28). Hope deferred is a test. Don’t fail it.
Thirdly, let the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13). As long as we have God in this life, we have hope! As long as we continue believing, our hearts will be filled with joy and peace for with God all things are possible! We can rejoice in confidence that with God in our lives hope deferred will eventually give way to desire fulfilled.
When hope is deferred and disappointment hits hard, do what David did in Psalm 42 and quickly turn to God. Continue to place your hope in God. Keep on praising Him in spite of it all. And you will find Him to be a very present help in time of trouble.
Pastor Todd Weston