A Sick Heart
Proverbs 13:12 (ESV) – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Have you ever hoped for something so deeply that your heart ached? I remember when I was in the Army and eight hours away from my girlfriend (now wife). I lived in Fort Bragg, NC. My girlfriend lived in Lebanon, TN. We were eight hours apart and it felt like a world away. We didn’t have cell phones or instant messenger options like today. I had to buy calling cards and sit in the phone booth to talk with her. But I did it. I loved her. I couldn’t wait to see her and be with her. My heart ached. Visiting home was wonderful, but the best day of all was when I finished my Army commitment and made my way home to her. The desire fulfilled was one of the best days ever.
Our passage today touches on this reality. We read in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
The object we hope for, whatever it is, makes our heart sick if we don’t satisfy it soon. Waiting for Christmas to come is hard for a kid. Families of deployed military personnel long to be reunited. A parent with a child away for college misses their “baby” and longs for them to come home to visit. People that have lost loved ones to death await the reunion in Heaven. There are endless examples of hope deferred making the heart sick. The longer we wait, the harder it is. We want the desire fulfilled quickly.
But when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. It satisfies. It is life-giving to us. There is great pleasure and delight in the heart of the one who waits in hope and has it fulfilled. When we pray for God to open a door because we long for a new job or desire another child, our hearts are sick with desire and hope. We want God to move. When the door opens, and the desire is satisfied, it brings great joy and delight to our hearts. The news excites us. We radiate with joy.
The sick heart is difficult to endure. Hope deferred is hard.
Unfulfilled longings can burden us and make us wonder if God sees or knows what we are longing for. But the waiting only makes the fulfillment more satisfying. Persevere in prayer and ask the Lord to help your sick heart.
Ask others to pray with you and provide you encouragement as you wait for the fulfillment to come.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does hope deferred make the heart sick?
- What are some experiences of having hope deferred, making your heart sick?
- How have you seen God provide for your longings and satisfy your longing heart?
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