Recently, I ordered something online. I’m a regular online shopper, so I was really surprised to hear that my package was to arrive sooner than I had expected. Well, the arrival date came and went. I have to admit, not getting the item when I was told to expect it, bummed me out just a little.
Before I knew it, this verse from Proverbs popped into my head, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” (Proverbs 13:12) I like to look up the definitions of words. The word, “hope,” means “expectation” in Hebrew, Greek, and English. Now, my situation was certainly not serious enough to cause my heart to be sick, but suppose as a child, your parents consistently promised to take you to Disney World on such and such a date. The date would come and the date would go, a new date would be promised, but you never got to go to Disney World. Your expectation would be delayed, and your hopes would be dashed. Continual disappointing experiences like these could teach you not to trust people as you grew up.
Over the years, that would start to wear on a person, wouldn’t it? What does hope deferred do? It makes the heart sick. The word “sick” in the Hebrew means: “to be rubbed or worn; hence (fig.) to be weak, sick, afflicted, or to grieve, make sick.” That got me to thinking about all the people I have seen in my life who are downcast, and even self-destructive. Sometimes folks don’t even know why they are depressed. I certainly don’t have a degree in psychology, but I wonder if some of these un-met, delayed expectations might be at least part of the culprit. Did you notice the word “grieving” in the definition of “sick”? I know, from personal experience, that if I allow any regrets to linger in my heart, it makes my grief last longer.
From what I’ve seen in the Bible, God wants us to hope in Him alone. Why? Because He’s the ONLY ONE who can actually keep His promises 100% of the time! Notice, though, that God hardly ever gives us a definite time table for fulfilling His promises to us.
Still, He knows if we hope (expect) in people, we will be consistently disappointed and sick. Jeremiah 17:5 says, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.’” Even the most well-intentioned people will let us down, and we will let others down, too. We were not created to find our sufficiency in people but in God alone.
But wait. That’s not all! God doesn’t leave us in the mire. The rest of that verse in Proverbs 13:12 says, “…but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” That reminded me of these verses in Psalm 37:4-5, “Delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
If your heart is heavy today, may I suggest you search your heart to find if there is a root of bitterness caused by the broken promises of people? If so, let those disappointments go to the Lord. Maybe it’s the Lord that you take issue with-you feel like even He has let you down—I can assure you that isn’t the case, but sometimes we can feel like it is. The Lord wants us to take those things to Him and get them straightened out, too. What if what we’re holding onto is the reason that affliction, grief, and sickness hold on to us? I can guarantee that’s NOT the way the Lord wants us to live our days on this earth.
If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He wants to and He will give us the desires of our hearts so that we can glorify Him, bear much fruit and live an abundant life in Jesus. It’s our choice really: put our hopes in people and be disappointed, or put all our hope in God and have an abundant life.
Find real hope in the book, “just hold on: finding hope in the face of suicide.” Get a free e-book here: justholdonbook.com