You’ve probably heard the Proverb that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick . . .” But what does that actually mean? What does it mean to defer your hope?
To defer means to “put off (an action or event) to a later time,” or, it could be likened to putting something on the backburner. So, what this Proverb is essentially telling us is that the heart becomes ill when hope is placed on the backburner of life.
The next question we should ask is, “What ‘hope’ is Solomon talking about here . . . what hope, when placed on the backburner, makes our hearts sick?”
The answer can be found in Psalm 33:18–22 which reads, “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you” (NIV).
Our hope is only meant to be tied to God’s unfailing love. Reading that Proverb again, we can see that when our hope in the unfailing love of God is put on the backburner of our lives, our hearts become sick.
It is so easy for us to put our hope in everything but God. We tend to place hope in people, money, circumstances, and sometimes even ourselves. When this happens, the unfailing love of God gets placed on the backburner of our “hope life” and in turn, our hearts feel sick.
It’s easy to see that there’s a sense of hopelessness that plagues the world like a sickness. This hopelessness can be attributed largely to “hopes” being elevated over the one and only true Hope—God.
True Hope is being pushed to the side, ignored, or just avoided. Is it any wonder why there’s so much hopelessness in our world? The truth is, everything is shakable except the heart and character of God. When our hope is placed in Him, we become unshakeable.
That’s why we want to encourage you to do a few things:
- Take an honest analysis of your “hope life.” Has God’s unfailing love been placed on the back burner?
- Tell someone you trust and respect about your struggle with hopelessness.
- Reframe your hopelessness within the greatness of your Hope: Christ in you (Colossians 1).
- Allow yourself to be in process—the struggle against hopelessness is a war, not a single battle.
We love and believe in each of you, so please let us know how we can fight with you. It’s an honor to be a small part of God’s story in your life!