“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Prov. 13:12, NRSV).
Though simple, this verse carries the weight of a painful reality. Maintaining hope for something that has been delayed is incredibly difficult for anyone, and believers are no exception. Whether you have been waiting on a new job, looking for the right spouse, studying to pass a test, or trying to start a family, you’ve probably been praying for your hopes to come true.
While we might start with faith that our dreams will become reality, it can become more difficult than we expected after months, years, or decades pass. The longer it takes, the easier it is to wonder if God hears your prayers or works to answer them. Harder still is watching others achieve the goals you’ve dreamed of – your coworker gets the promotion over you, your business competitor gets the contract, your friend gets married and has happy children.
You wouldn’t be alone if you become jaded after enough time passes, or if your heart grows sick with despair. Many believers have questioned their faith in times like these. Are their hopes even right to begin with? Where is God during their despair and pain? We wonder, if God is loving and good, then why does He seem to withhold from us what He’s promised?
Sometimes, you may have friends or well-meaning spiritual leaders tell you that “it’s all in God’s timing” to placate your questions and your worries. While that’s not inherently wrong, it can be incredibly frustrating, because what we really want is to hear from God Himself. We want to know He cares. With all the noise in the world, it’s difficult to understand when He seems silent.
And yet, He is never truly silent. Often, we lack the courage to truly approach Him intimately. We are desperate to hear what He has to say, but in our fear of the answer, we can forget to seek Him earnestly and genuinely as His closest friends in the Bible did. Moses, Abraham, and David were bold and open with their pleas and with their praise, and we should likewise follow their example.
We have a Good Father and an advocate who wants the best for us. All we must do is reach out to Him. There may not be a standard answer that applies to everyone and every situation, and sometimes we might not understand why things have turned out the way they have. What’s important is that we never let the emotional turmoil become a wall that separates us from God who provides all of our blessings.
Reaching out earnestly means opening an intimate dialogue with God. He does not mind our questions. In fact, He cares deeply about our troubles and does not consider them insignificant. Psalm 34:18 says that the “Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” While He wants to share His heart with you, He wants your heart as well. That means we cannot treat our relationship with God as a magic box from which we can demand our greatest wishes.
In the end, God always finishes what He started. No matter what the situation is, He will fulfill us and renew our hope in Him. This is promised in the second portion of Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Reach out to Him, and He will be there.
– Eszter Willard, Staff Writer