“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”
I remember the first time I read this Scripture in Proverbs, as well as the many times that followed. I must say, my heart is touched every time I turn to it. What a profound piece of Scripture!
I’m also confident we’ve all had seasons in life where we’ve longed deeply for something and the reality of it ever happening is delayed. Perhaps we never do see our longing or prayer answered. As much effort as we put into trying to make the dream come true for us, we find ourselves empty. What I mean by ‘empty’ is the longing has left us with an ache in our heart in the absence of a dream fulfilled. We find ourselves agonizing over the loss of what could have been and should have been. Perhaps it’s the loss of what we believed was meant to be, but just never materialized for us.
We find ourselves struggling to stay the course as we wait, trying to remain hopeful. Then quickly hope turns into disappointment. We may struggle in our heart and mine to determine the reason behind the delay. We find ourselves asking, ‘Where is God?’ Days turn into nights and we find we cannot concentrate on much else because the longing has consumed our every thought. Still we push through as our hope diminishes. This is when we may become so discouraged we find ourselves heartsick over the longing and waiting.
Can anyone relate?
There are things I’ve longed and waited for that to this day have not come to fruition. I’ve had to learn how to surrender my will for His and accept the timing and seasons of God. I’ve reasoned within as to why things happened the way they did and not the way I’d hoped for.
My confession is this; God has used the disappointments and the delayed answers to prayer to teach me more about Himself. He has strengthened my faith, and showed me His will for my life. This has caused me to take my eyes off of myself and to look more deeply into the ways of God. Many times it has brought me to my knees in despair as I’ve ached for the longing to pass so I might feel good again. Through the season of waiting God used this time to enhance my spiritual understanding of how He is the Lord of my life, and I am not.
I want to go back to ‘heartsick.’ Loss and disappointment, delayed answers to prayer and longing can cause our heart to literally feel sick from brokenness and disappointment. This can bring on depression, doubt in God, and make us question if we are worthy of answered prayer! Whether our longing is for a career, a marriage, a baby, a home or even a puppy! That longing is real to us and it consumes our thoughts and takes up residence in our hearts as we wait with great expectation for it. As much as we try to keep ourselves preoccupied, it’s still there. The enemy taunts us with words that echo in our mind about how life will never be good without it. The ache in our hearts stubbornly reminds us of what we don’t have, the very thing everyone else seems to have. That dream that we are missing that would make our life complete. Bottom line, the whole process can really do a number on us!
But then God shows up and sometimes it’s in the answer we’ve longed for, and other times it’s to gently move us toward something better. We may not see the ‘better’ in it, but that is when we must stay strong, push through, and trust God. What I’ve learned about God is that when He answers our longings or moves them into a new direction, we can be sure it will be in a majestic and miraculous way.
I share this as I too was becoming heartsick before my move to So Cal. Nothing was working for me back home in the Bay Area. My relationship with my younger son was falling apart after years of working hard to help, support and show my love for him and his daughter. In his eyes it still ended up not being enough. In God’s eyes, perhaps I had done too much. It was back in 2009 that I began to look into relocating and submitting job applications. After a few years of doing this without anything happening, I grew weary and discouraged. I put this longing aside with a restless, disappointed heart. It was 2014 when God showed up with the answer to this forgotten prayer. It happened like nothing I envisioned. It left me without a doubt that it was about God’s will and His timing, not mine. It happened in a way I could never have dreamed up! He put all logistics into place and He had me moved within a five week time span, after five years of delay!
I share this with hope of encouraging those of you who have hearts desires that have not yet materialized. Those relentless hopes and dreams that captivated your heart, only to leave you heartsick because tomorrow has come, but the longing remains unfulfilled.
It’s my desire to encourage and strengthen you with this verse in Proverbs that was put there for such a time as this! These words are written to remind us of the life that comes to us through a faith that perseveres when it’s difficult and we see no light at the end of the tunnel. We must not forget God understands. We must be mindful of how God is with us as we walk that pebbled road and wait for the light to illuminate our way again. We must stay strong and move forward as we wait for the timing of God to break through our heartsick condition. If it’s not the timing we envisioned or the way we wanted things to go, God see’s us and has our best interests at heart. He will still show up. Many testify that He always shows up with something better!