Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. — Proverbs 13:12
For those who are discouraged and seem stuck in “hope deferred, heartsick” circumstances, I want to encourage you today. I’ve sometimes heard people who were living in a lengthy time of waiting repeatedly quote the first part of this Scripture. However, this verse has a Part B: “BUT when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
God always has a Part B ending to the trials and disappointments He allows us to pass through. He does not intend to leave us forever in the “hope deferred, heartsick” state.
Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David all experienced having their hopes get to the point of looking pretty bleak, but at the appropriate time, God brought their desires to fulfillment. Psalm 105:19 says of Joseph, “Until the time that his word came, the word of the LORD tried him.” We could rephrase that, “Until the right time for his promise to be fulfilled arrived, that promise tested his faith.” But the trial ended, and his expectation received its answer.
Abraham waited twenty-five years for Isaac to be born, but Hebrews 6:15 tells us that “after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:12 exhorts us to persevere too, that we might “through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
In the New Testament, a disciple named Aeneas waited eight years to be healed. It must have seemed like an awful “hope deferred, heartsick” kind of existence. But he received his healing in due time, and all the people in two entire towns gave their lives to Jesus as a result. His healing also brought in his harvest. (You can read his story in Acts 9:32-35.)
Do you have a long-standing promise from the Lord? A desire of the heart which has endured, and yet it looks like its fulfillment will never come? Part B of Proverbs 13:12 says when the desire comes, not if it comes.
Your hope will not be deferred forever. Encourage yourself in the Lord, as David did, by remembering His past faithfulness to you and by meditating on what the Bible says about His faithfulness. If you need some help finding the verses you need, I’ve compiled some for you at my website. God’s “Part B” is goodness toward you. Jeremiah 29:11 sums it up well: “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'”
Continue to expect God to fulfill the desires He has placed in your heart, and you will receive your expected end.