"Hope is the great stabilizer. It steadies us in times of fear and difficulty, not because we know that everything will turn out as we want, but because we know that God is trustworthy. Hope is what helps us stay on course regardless of circumstances."
Ann Spangler Praying the Names of God
Ann Spangler Praying the Names of God
Have you ever felt like you were waiting for something particular to happen in your life for a really long time that your heart started to hurt? I have, and I currently am. Solomon wisely pointed out in Proverbs that, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." (Proverbs 12:13) Isn't that the truth?
Being in a season of longing, a season where hope continually seems to be deferred... I have decided to believe that God's will isn't for my heart to be "sick". The second part of that Proverb is: "but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." That is the character of the God I know and love. But, reality is that what I'm longing for is not happening... so, what can I do about it? I think I need to figure out where to put my hope. And that's what I'm doing.
God is teaching lots of things to me through this process... this journey of wanting to be pregnant and it not happening the way I planned. There, I said it. Among the many things I'm learning (besides how to release control, that God's timing is perfect, that I can't always plan things out to the T) is what HOPE really means.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
When we put our hope in the outcome, there is inevitable chance for heartsickness. When we put our hope in God, we will never be put to shame. Yes, we obviously can and will hope for things... for blessings... for circumstances to change... for people to change... for us to change... for an outcome... but at the end of the day, we can't stake everything in those hopes. I can stake it all in Jesus. When I hope in Him, I am secure. SO that's how I can remain stable and joyful even when my longing for a child is unfulfilled. I know that my hope is in His unfailing love, my hope is in God, my hope is ultimately so much more than an earthly blessing or event... it's for "the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own..." (Titus 2:13-14)
God put a picture in my mind a few days ago as I was praying on this very thing that has given me... lots of hope! It was a crude depiction of a sea with the waves at the top and the sandy bottom far below the surface. Then I saw a diver (me) taking a big hook and swimming all the way to the bottom of the sea and securing the hook to the bottom. Then it became an anchor. The surface of the ocean is unstable, shifting, changing, insecure, vulnerable... the ocean floor or deep is secure, safe, stable, firm. Where do I want to put my hopes? I know the answer.
So I am praying that the thing I am hoping for would be firm and secure in the Rock of Jesus. When we call His name, He answers, He comes. If this--getting pregnant--is going to take some time, I want to learn all that I can from God in the process. I don't want to miss something He's trying to teach me here. Yes, it is painful... hope deferred makes the heart sick. But my deepest longings... the ones of my spirit... are fulfilled in Jesus, and in faith there is a tree of life being planted in my heart here.
I will leave you with my favorite verse from the Bible:
"A blessing on the one who puts his trust in the Lord,
with the Lord for his hope.
He is like a tree by the waterside
that thrusts its roots to the stream;
when the heat comes,
it feels no alarm,
its foliage stays green;
it has no worries in a year of drought,
and never ceases to bear fruit..."
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (Jerusalem Bible trans.)