(12) Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 KJV)
In June I was watching the NBA Draft. As I was watching these young NBA hopefuls eagerly awaiting for their names to be called. One of the players caught my attention. It had been projected that he would have been chosen in the top ten. The top 15 at the least. As the night begin to progress and this young man’s name wasn’t called. I’ve begun to watch his facial expressions and body language. As each team selected their future players and his name wasn’t called. He sat with a look of indifference as if it didn’t matter whether he made it into the NBA or not. I remember thinking that he could at least show that he cares. Immediately, as soon as I had that thought God spoke to me “Indifference. It’s sort of how you act when you watch someone else get married or have kids. You act like you don’t care! Deep down inside you wonder if it will happen for you. You look at your age and you watch others go before you and you wonder if it was meant to be.” It was then that I begin to look at this young man through different eyes. God had to break it down for me in a way that I would get. I began to understand that this was his desire. That he worked hard to obtain his dream of making it to the NBA. That night for him was do or die. It was also then that I begin to root for him and when his name was called. Still in the first round but not in the top ten as predicted. I watched as relief eased across his face and he went from indifference to ecstatic. For me it was the perfect example of the above scripture.
How many of us ever had a desire that either has not come to pass. Or it took a long time to come to pass. How did it make you feel? The scripture says that hope deferred maketh the heart sick. The word deferred means to put off an action or event to a later time; postpone or delay. The word hope means a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. We all have hopes and expectations. I don’t believe that we can live this life without having some type of desire. The scripture says however that when this desire is delayed it makes us sick in the heart. Meaning that it can cause us to become anxious and depressed. It will even cause us to doubt will the desire ever come to pass. I want to encourage you with this. There is a popular saying that says delay does not mean denial. That is so true! Don’t give up hope. Just because what you desired has not happened yet. Does not mean that it will never happen. but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Notice that the scripture says when the desire cometh and not if the desire cometh. That word when gives us the assurance that what we desire will come to pass. It may not come when we want or expect for it to but when it does arrive. It is a tree of life. It makes the heart merry. Do you know what it also does. It strengthens our faith in God.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24 KJV)
The second part of this scripture caught my eye. It’s because I realized how true is that. If we see it we don’t have to hope for it. We don’t hope for something that is already ours. It’s sort of like hoping for a car that you already drive! When we hope for something it is generally for something that we have yet to obtain. Some of you may be saying, well I’ve been hoping for this certain thing for a long time now. I don’t see it coming to pass and honestly I don’t think that God cares. What do I do and why should I continue to care. The Bible gives us the answer in the book of Psalm Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (5) Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:4-5 KJV). We can take verse 4 in one of two ways. Either when we delight ourselves in the Lord he will grant us our heart’s desires or he will give us what to desire. Two words stand out to me in verse 5. Commit and trust. We are to commit our way to the Lord. Then we are to trust that he will bring it to pass. A lot of the times it’s not the fact of our desires not coming to fruition that makes the heart sick. It’s not trusting if God will bring it to pass. I will be the first to raise my hand on this one. Depression and discouragement rearing its ugly head. When I felt as though I hoped long enough. What I love about this verse in Psalms is that it is also a promise. If we delight, if we commit and if we trust in the Lord. He will bring it to pass. A lot of the times our hope is deferred because we try to obtain our desires without seeking the Lord for it. Some of the times its simply because the Lord knows that we are not ready and he will not give it to us too soon. Let him prepare you for the desire. Remember we serve an all-knowing, all-seeing on time God!
We all have hopes that we long for in this life. Not one of us is immune from this. However, I implore you not to lose faith as you wait for it to come to pass. Remember that delay does not mean denial. Continue to delight yourself in him, commit your way before him and trust that in God’s perfect timing that it shall come to pass.