Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
I recently went on a “Stillness” Retreat organised by a good friend of mine. She had the thought to bless a group of her female friends by gathering them on one dedicated afternoon at her house. It was a way to spend quiet time with God alone, but together.
Ironically, I came away from the afternoon feeling troubled. Finally still before God, I was convicted about my laziness and my lack of action. The fire I once had to carry out what I thought was God’s plans had subsided. I had taken a back seat, conveniently hiding behind a “go with the flow because I trust God” attitude. A toxic mixture of uncertainty, laziness, procrastination, apprehension, and escapism had stalled me to inaction. My delayed plans led to my deferred hopes.
I’m thankful that God, in His mercy, gently jolted me out of this state, introducing some discomfort into my comfort zone. He reminded me to stay on course, to “fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
Part of fighting the good fight of faith is to pursue good works, which is what we were made for – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). If we choose to sit back, the longing within us will never be fulfilled, leading to languor and, eventually, despondence.
When things get just a little bit difficult, I tend to doubt whether it was really God’s plan or just my own plan. I might then conclude it was the latter, and I use it as an excuse to stall or give up. However, this is precisely the moment when I need to press into prayer. Our hearts will be sick as long as we continue to delay vigorous acts of faith and defer hope. And that is a state that we must not allow ourselves to stay in.
Let us not let hope be deferred by:
- Thanking God who constantly reminds us that He is our God of hope.
- Asking God to reveal things that we have been putting off doing and help us get back on His track.