Friday, February 17, 2017

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

The title of today's blog is a verse that I read years ago,  Proverbs 13:12:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (biblegateway.com)

This verse really jumped out at me when I read it because that was exactly how I felt at the time. I was heart sick. And not just a minor little cold, either. My heart had the flu. I think my heart is still a little feverish, although I am now on the mend. 

To get a fuller understanding of this verse, I looked up the meaning of the word deferred on Google. 

de·fer1
dəˈfər/
verb
past tense: deferred; past participle: deferred
  1. put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone.

    "they deferred the decision until February"

    synonyms:postponeput off, delayhold over, hold off (on), put back; More
    shelvesuspendstayput over, table;
    informalput on ice, put on the back burner, back-burnerput in cold storage,mothball

First of all, I must point out how hilarious the synonym "mothball" is to me. It makes me picture my heart tucked away in a ceder chest packed in mothballs for another day.  

But, the word that I think is most accurate is the word "postpone."   There are things that I have hoped and prayed for that I have not seen an answer to. In fact, the more I prayed for certian things, it seemed that the answer I was looking for was pulled further and further out of my grasp. It seemed to me that instead of being "postponed," my dreams were crushed and placed into a casket, then buried six feet under. My hope was completely destroyed. 

I had a bit of an emotional breakdown a year ago December. That is the day I realized my marriage was truly over. I had prayed practically every day for years for it to work out. I had many nights that I just laid in bed and cried, asking God to please fix what was broken. But now I am getting a divorce. I won't go into every detail of what happened for privacy sake. I do need to keep some parts of my life to myself. But, now he is living in Texas and the kids and I are here in Louisiana. 

How's that for an answered prayer. I was angry at God for a long time. God let me down, I'd thought. 

Lately, over the past few months, I have been working on building back the relationship with my Lord, and it has been a difficult journey, but so very worth it. I prayed and was honest with Him about how I felt. I told him I was angry and that I didn't understand why things worked out the way they did.  I cried and He surrounded me with His presence. 

Then last night at church, our children's pastor, Dana, taught in the regular Wednesday night adults service. She touched my heart. Deep. Like the lying on the floor crying at the end of service type of deep. And it wasn't just a few little tears. This was a real, snot pouring out of my nose, ugly cry. The kind of cry that made my kids ask me why I looked funny when I picked them up out of their class after church. 

The passage that Pastor Dana spoke about was Mark 5:21-43, which is the story where Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood while he is on the way to heal 12 year old girl who is dying. Jarius, the girl's father came to Jesus, begging him to come visit his daughter so that she could be healed. Jarius witnessed Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood and in that moment, his faith that Jesus could heal his daughter was confirmed. However, the in the next moment, Jarius received word that his daughter had already died. This news crushed him and stole his hope away. Hope. There's that word again.

David was very familiar with hopelessness and wrote about it in Psalm 142. King Saul went quite insane and tried to kill David. David had to hide in caves for I'm not sure how long, but I know that if it was me, I would begin to lose hope that I would ever live in civilization again. Samuel had told David when he was a young boy that he would grow up to be king of Israel one day. Living in caves is about the farthest thing from living in a castle that you can experience. David cried out to God and never lost faith in Him, but his hope grew thin. God eventually restored his promise to David, but the guy had to go through a lot to get there.

Anyways, back to this Jarius guy. Jesus overheard someone from Jarius's house telling him to forget about bringing Jesus, that there was no hope now that the girl is dead. So Jesus cuts in and tells Jarius, "Do not be afraid, only believe."  Jesus leads Jarius and his crew back to their home and tells the crowd not to worry, that the girl is only asleep. This actually gets a few laughs from the greiving household. True to his word, Jesus raises the girl from the dead back to life, and Jarius's hope is restored, as well as his daughter's life, and his family. So many things are restored by this one girl coming back to life.

Pastor Dana went on to tell us that Jesus himself has experienced hopelessness and lonliness. When Judas betrayed him and Jesus was arrested, his own disciples abandoned him. Then when he was hanging on the cross, he experienced the feeling of his own Heavenly Father turning away from him, removing his spirit from him. That right there is what got me. Cut me down to the core. I am not alone. My Jesus has felt as lonely and hopeless and I have in my own life. He understands and can comfort me because he knows what it is like first hand. Jesus is my hope. He is here and he is Hope. 

Things in life may seem hopeless, but don't lose faith. Hold on to Him and He will bring you through it. It may not feel like it sometimes, but don't trust your feelings and emotions. This is something I have to remind myself quite often. Trust in Jesus rather than emotions and you will be placed on a straight path. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. That means that it does take work to have a relationship with him, but he will give you the strength that you need to keep going. Take heart, My Love. You will make it. 

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