One of the sweetest corners of truth my soul has enjoyed is Proverbs 13:12-
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Over and over my hands have gripped these words when I couldn’t hold much else. And these words proved strong because of one reality that this morning’s mercy spoke so loudly: The Christian’s greatest hope is only ever deferred not lost.
Hope is a vulnerable thing and I think many of us have thought it better not to be open. I know some of you have wondered if hope is worth the risk. Because I think we’re tired of lost things. We’re tired of a sick heart that wonders will hope produce a beautiful harvest or a barren field?
I can’t fully explain this truth-I do believe the best truths are bit mysterious. Yet, I will do my best. When the world was dark and not sure how to find light, the light came down. When the world was cold and warm was a story told but not remembered: warmth came.
And warmth came vulnerable to show us that vulnerability could be hoped in. Warmth grew and knew darkness, coldness and hurt. He, because in God’s goodness, warmth was a man, knew barrenness and wept at it. So moved by the barren, the widow, and the callous-he drew His last breath so we could know hope. And when warmth went down to the cold grave and came back on an orange morning He brought this news: hope is only ever deferred never lost.
This why we speak of hope and not fantasy. This is why we speak of faith not foolishness. Because death and resurrection are running through our veins. Dying things prove to grow beautiful trees and we do not hope in an elusive counselor. No, the Christian’s hope is in a man that knows His creation.
The Christian’s hope is wrapped in a man that knows coldness and conquered despair. For when the Son of God lay wrapped in linens dead, He took the bitter and the barren. When our prince of peace lay limp, He conquered paralyzing fear.
Friends, the maker of our tendons did not leave despair breathing. The One who forged our limbs while we were unable to speak fully purchased hope. So in this season, let us expect Him to make good on His word.
Hope is only ever deferred never lost. For all affections we desperately long for are in Him who is always near, always present and always mediating. Let us cast ourselves on His sweet frame today, dear Christian. Let us hope in nothing less than Him who bore our griefs and gives us warmth.