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Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).  As you read these words, I know this about you.  I know you have many hopes.  Many longings.  Many dreams.  Many aspirations. 

You hope you have a good marriage.  You hope that one day you get married.  You hope to have kids.  You hope your kids stay healthy.  You hope you keep your job.  You hope to find a job.  You hope to make it through college.  You hope you have enough money to retire.  You hope to find purpose in your retirement.  You hope to find happiness.  You hope to make it through another day.  You hope to get through the COVID-19 pandemic before you lose your mind.

But hope deferred makes the heart sick.  We know that to be true.  You and I have experienced it.  Some of you have hoped for your loved one to be healed, but they weren’t.  You are deferring that hope for heaven, but for now, your heart is sick.  You hoped for a happy marriage, but divorce came anyway.  You are deferring your hope in the unspoken pain of marital betrayal, and your heart is sick.  You hope for life to return to normal, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen any time soon . . . if ever.  Your deferred hope makes your heart sick.

So, here’s my question for you.  In what do you place your hope?  Is hope a roll of the dice, a gamble that maybe things will work out?  Yes, if you place your hope in the wrong thing.  If you place your ultimate hope on the economy, the government, your company, your spouse, your kids, or anything that can shift with the shadows, your hope is not deferred; it is decommissioned.  In truth, you are without hope.

If, however, you place your hope in something, yes, in Someone who is unmovable, unchanging, steadfast, secure, indomitable, and accessible, your hope may be deferred . . . for now.  But one day your hope will be realized. 

What did Jesus say?  “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).  Our hearts are sick in this world from deferred hope, but here’s the rest of Proverbs 13:12—"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  The tree of life is in the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7).  Not all longings are fulfilled in this life, but all longings that flow from hope in Jesus are fulfilled in the paradise of God.

This is why we need to “hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:18b-19a, NIV).  This is a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3b-4, ESV).

I encourage you this day—don’t . . . give . . . up . . . on . . . hope, at least not on the hope that, though deferred, will never disappoint.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

A Pastor’s Plea

In my near thirty-years of full-time pastoral ministry, I have never witnessed such chaos, division, and pain at a national and even global level.  I just read today that we are experiencing a combination of 1918 with the Spanish flu and the race riots of 1968.

With the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are learning of 22 new states experiencing a jump in new coronavirus cases.  With the issue of the deep pain, anger, and outrage over racial injustice, we are learning about surveys indicating that 95% of Americans agree that the death of George Floyd was horrifically wrong, and the officers responsible should be charged with murder. 

Although most Americans are united in their disgust and anger over the murder of George Floyd, many are still divided over the best path forward.  Many feel a sense of hopelessness that anything will ever change in our nation, and yet herein lies the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).  We are able to “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that [we] heard” (Colossians 1:23).  Ours is a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). 

Through hope, we have opportunity even in the face of adversity.  As Debasish Mridha once wrote, “Hope opens the door of opportunity and shines the way to possibilities.”

So, what is my “pastor’s plea”?  To use these unprecedented times as opportunities for unparalleled possibilities.  Never before in our lifetime have we been afforded such unique possibilities of building bridges, seeking reconciliation, and standing for justice. 

Hasn’t God called us to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8)?  Hasn’t God declared that He “works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6)?  Hasn’t God revealed that “we are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)?

My plea is for us to remain centered on Christ.
My plea is for the Church to bear witness to unity and equality in all realms of life.
My plea is for us to humble ourselves and repent of any attitudes of racism or hatred.
My plea is for us to listen before we speak and empathize before we defend.
My plea is for us to focus more on building relationships than winning arguments.
My plea is for us to live out the Gospel and not just proclaim the Gospel.
My plea is for us to tell people that the greatest example of someone who brought about personal and social transformation is Jesus Christ.
My plea is for us to demonstrate a love that is patient and kind, that does not envy or boast, that is not arrogant or rude, that does not insist on its own way, that is not irritable or resentful, that does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).
My plea is for the Kingdom of Heaven to reign down here on earth.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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