Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Deferred Hope

“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” 
Romans 8:25  (KJV)

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.  I remember hearing that a lot when I was a child.  It is frustrating to want something so bad and no matter how hard you try, you just keep coming up short.  Now, I find myself saying things like that to Zachary, as I watch him trying so hard.  It’s amazing how all of those phrases and quotes stick with you, and you find yourself passing them on to your own child.  J

So, what makes us keep getting up each day, starting over, and trying again?  I believe it lies within one little four-letter word.  H-O-P-E.  After a bad day yesterday, we hope today will be a better day.  After making a complete flop of a relationship we cherish, we hope given one more chance, this time we will get it right.  After floundering in the dark, we hope that finally, this will be the day that God’s purpose will be opened up to us.  After praying for the same request for long, unchanging years, we hope this prayer will be the one that touches the heart of God and brings the long sought-after answer.

Hope means that we believe it is better farther on.  That our past sins and failures are forgiven by a loving, tender-hearted God, never to be brought up to us again, and by His grace we won’t repeat our past mistakes.  That there is something good awaiting us, if we will continue to press forward.  That if we keep being diligent in our eating and exercise, one day it will click and the weight will come off.

What is that you hope for that you have not yet seen?  What is that you want to see happen in your life, your heart, your outlook, and yourself that you haven’t seen yet, but you are still holding out hope for?  How long have you been patiently waiting for it? 

Proverbs 13:12 (KJV) says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”  To defer means to postpone or to put something off until a later time.  Kind of like deferred interest that is posted to an account at a later time…it hasn’t been paid, but it is being earned, and at the appointed time the reward comes when it is finally compensated.  Hope that is deferred, that does not become reality quickly, makes the heart sick.  We grow tired of waiting.  We want what we want, and we want it now.  But after hoping and waiting, “when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life”. 

I feel that way when I think of the years I struggled with infertility.  I had a promise from God that gave me the assurance that one day we would have a child of our own.  So, I hoped for it.  My hope and desire was deferred for many long years, but when God made good on His promise…when he sent us a precious son to love and hold and raise, it was and continues to be a tree of life…a blessing that continues to be poured out upon us and into our lives day by day. 

I also feel this way when I think of the incredible gift God gave me when He brought Kevin into my life.  We both made a commitment to Christ at a young age, and both of our commitments included waiting for the right life partner.  It felt like I waited for an eternity, but looking back, it was and continues to be such a tree of life to me, a steady and consistent blessing…..SO worth the wait!  So worth the moments sitting on a lonely boulder on the beach….alone…..wondering if my hope of ever finding my soul-mate, my Mr. Right would be rewarded. 

Remember Abraham?  Romans 4:17-18 is speaking of him when it says, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.” 

I love the part where it says, “Who against hope believed in hope…”  In other words, Abraham hoping for a child at the ripe, old age of 75 when God first promised him that he would “make of him a great nation” did not make sense!  It defied human ability and possibility.  It went against human reasoning.  Fast-forward 24 years to when he was 99 and you find that God reaffirmed his promise to Abraham by sending three messengers to him to relay the message that Sarah (his wife) would soon have a baby boy.  She was 90, and Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac, the fulfillment of their hope, was born!  Isaac was hope personified!  Hope that was deferred for 25 long years….nevertheless, a tree of life well worth waiting for. 

Romans 4:20 (KJV) says concerning Abraham, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God…”  If something is worth having, it is worth waiting for, is it not?  Stagger not, my friend!  Just because it hasn’t happened for you yet, doesn’t mean it never will. Hope deferred is not hope denied.  Hope deferred is worth holding on to.  Don’t sell out for less than you are hoping for…less than you deserve….less than God has promised and willed to you.  God reserves His best for those who leave the choice to Him…and who continue hoping.  Keep hope alive.  Stoke its embers.  Don’t let it burn out.  Add fuel to its withering flame.  One day your desire will come…and what a tree of life it will be!

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