The scripture that says hope deferred makes the heart sick can be found in Proverbs 13:12 and we will examine this Bible verse today to see what hope deferred actually means. First, let’s look at the Bible verse in the KJV…
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Prov 13:12)
I don’t believe we need to overcomplicate the meaning of this scripture. Deferred simply means delayed, as in drawn out. Of course, hope means expectation.
So when you are expecting something it doesn’t arrive or happen or is delayed it makes your heart sick.
What Does Hope Deferred Makes The Heart Sick Mean?
We have all received disappointing news at one stage of our life or another and we have all experienced the feeling in our heart that is hard to explain.
Our heart sinks, we feel a heaviness of heart, it makes the heart sick!
…but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Sometimes it takes a while to process but usually, we come to terms with it and start to think of ways to get on with things again.
Then the renewed hope takes hold, the desire comes again and we become reinvigorated to move forward with renewed enthusiasm. (The tree of life)
For example, you may have received bad news concerning your business. Something you were working on has hit a roadblock and it has ruined everything.
Your heart sinks, you are exhausted, it’s over, the business is ruined, it’s not fair, it’s not meant to be, and you just want to give up – this is the result of hope deferred.
But after you process it for a while and get used to the new reality and there is nothing you can do about this roadblock, your mind does an amazing thing and starts to think of other ways to achieve the results your business needs.
There is a spark of an idea. Yes, it just might work. Your heart no longer feels sick and you tackle the new concept with seemingly more energy and excitement than you had before when everything was going smoothly.
The desire has returned and it is like a tree of life… away you go full steam ahead with renewed enthusiasm.
Hope Deferred Can Have Two Results – One Good The Other Bad!
Hope deferred requires patience. We are exhorted in the scriptures constantly to be patient, to wait, to persevere, and even longsuffering. Hope deferred will either be character building as it should be or character destroying.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)
There can be no better example of hope deferred than Job. You only have to read the conversation with his friends to see he felt sick in his heart.
- My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. (Job 17:11)
- For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me. (Job 23:16)
However, Job endured and finally got to see in the end what God had intended for him all along – a double blessing!
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)
Sadly many are found wanting when their hope is deferred and fall back into sin or walk away from the Lord.
The children of Israel after being miraculous deliver from Egypt constantly wanted to turn back.
When their hope was deferred… No water let’s turn back… No food let’s turn back… The people in the promised land are giants let’s turn back, etc, etc.
It is human nature to throw the hands up in the air and return to something we got used to.
There is no victory in giving up, there is no victory in returning to sin. Don’t allow any of the hope deferred situations in your life to become an excuse for you to do the wrong thing.
Hope Deferred Makes The Heart Sick But When The Desire Comes It Is A Tree Of Life!
We can see a good example of this statement at the time of the disciples between the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3)
These guys had just spent 3 years with Jesus witnessing amazing miracles and had the opportunity of listening to everything he had to say.
They had even left their fishing careers earlier when Jesus said follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
But Jesus had been crucified, their hope was deferred, and they went back to fishing for fish.
They toiled or night and caught nothing and then Jesus appears to them on the shore and tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat and they catch 153 fish – the numerical number for the Church!
When they saw Jesus their hearts were revived – like a tree of life!
Another Great Example Is The Two Disciples On The Road To Emmaus!
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:32)
In Luke 24:17 Jesus asks them… What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
Their hope was deferred. They were sad. Their hearts were sick!
They said to Jesus haven’t you heard. They had hit a roadblock in their hope and expectations.
Jesus explains to them scriptures about Christ was to suffer and rise from the dead. After breaking bread with them they realize who it is and their hearts are revived.
With new hearts of revigorated optimism and enthusiasm – their desire is returned like a tree of life and the run back to tell the other disciples what they had experienced.
Their hope is restored again!
And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them. (Luke 24:33)
The world has been stripped of hope. Children are taught from a very young age that there is no God. If there is no God there is no hope. We have seen the devastating results of a world without hope.
Be like Abraham… Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations. (Rom 4:18)
He had his hope deferred. It was 25 years between the promise given by God and the child of promise being born. However, Abraham didn’t stop hoping just because it was delayed.
Hopefully, we will never stop hoping, believing, and trusting God either. No matter how much our hope is deferred in the times ahead.
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