If you’ve ever dealt with “hope deferred,” you know that deep heartsick feeling. When my husband and I began trying to start a family, we experienced years of hope deferred. Throughout those years, we watched most of our friends make announcements of “We are having a baby” or “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl.”
Our only announcement each month was from our fertility doctor saying, “No change— no baby— no progress.” And every month without fail—I’d hope again (wishing that I wouldn’t!). Each month I’d dream again, I’d pray again…and I’d be devastated again. I began to hate that I would cycle like this when there was so much to be grateful for in my life but I couldn’t shake “hope.”
We’d be given prophetic words by those that had no idea what we were facing, which just raised our hopes even more— only to face the month after month— year after year disappointment which made me heart-sick!
I’ve now been walking with one of my children through this same journey of hope deferred. Having gone through it does not make me an expert at navigating the sea of emotions that have waves of hope build and then crash on the shores of her and her husband’s life like getting slugged in their gut each month. But because of Jesus— hope relentlessly returns.
For me— I have a beautiful and happy ending to my story of hope deferred! We not only adopted a beautiful baby girl but I also gave birth to two boys and another girl! Double-double for all the heartache and hope deferred! I am praying and believing for my daughter and her husband to have their arms filled with “desire fulfilled” very soon! I am praying for you to have your desire fulfilled as well.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire (longing) fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
That was the verse that I clung to during my years of hope deferred. The amazing thing is that the 11-month-old baby girl that we adopted had been given this by her 15-year-old birth mother, Desiree’— which means “longed for!” Only God. A longing fulfilled!
Why am I sharing these two stories; one still in the grip of hope deferred and one in the reality of desire fulfilled? Because there are many of you who will read this that are in the pain of hope deferred or you know someone who is. There is an aspect of hope deferred that is beautiful and that is the “hope” part! Quite honestly in the midst of going through it “hope” didn’t feel beautiful because it felt like a set up for disappointment and pain. But looking back I now know that hope is what moves us forward, keeps our dreams alive, and our faith secure.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5
We hope because the love of God has been poured into us! We cannot escape it, and if we were able to it would have to be that we abandoned the love of God. We’d have to lose our confident expectation that is rooted in our faith. The hope of being loved by God will never disappoint— this is the hope that comforts every other hope; it is the hope that will never be deferred, never be withheld, never be delayed, and will always be the foundation of every other hope.
If you are experiencing the pain of hope deferred, then run fully into the arms of His love! In His arms, there is not only every desire fulfilled but a comfort that only His love can provide. In the grip of His love we have hope renewed, trust refreshed, joy in the midst of pain and beauty in the midst of the desert.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
As I have gone through seasons of pain and hope deferred, I have learned to not lean on my own understanding but to lean into His arms of love. It is there that I don’t have to have answers to the “whys” or harden my heart to protect myself from the pain. In His arms, the hope of His love is poured into me without measure. His love is always more than I can ask or imagine! I may weep there but I’m also comforted in the grip of my true Hope!
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
In Hebrews 11:11 we read of the fulfilled promise of a son for Abraham and Sarah— but though the promise took many years to be fulfilled it says this,
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
SHE JUDGED (considered) HIM FAITHFUL WHO HAD PROMISED!
That is true hope! We must know and believe that He who promised is faithful! There is no separation between His promise, our hope and His faithfulness. They are braided together and to separate hope would be to judge Him as unfaithful.
“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Hope in the Lord” will renew you and strengthen you to continue to run. Some days the only place you can run to is His arms but in that place love will be poured into your heart without measure.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
No matter what we are facing— we know and can put our hope in the fact that God desires to prosper you and not harm you. He has beautiful plans for you…to give you HOPE and a future of hopes fulfilled as the love of God poured out upon you.
I will leave you with these words from Psalm 33:18,
“But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love…”
His unfailing love is your desire fulfilled. Keep hope alive.
Featured image by Alexey O