Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't Delay Hope

Have you ever come to the point when you realize that you've allowed yourself to become cynical?  Or worse, jaded, in an area of your life?  Maybe it's with your job, with a friendship, with your finances, your parenting, or your marriage.  Maybe it's with a dream you used to hope for.  Becoming cynical is the essence, I believe, of losing hope.  And it's completely contrary to the nature of God.  But, do you know what?  It's a very easy way out!  And I've been there.

I'm not so proud of this, but it's the truth.  I have allowed myself to come to the point where I had lost all hope, at different times in my life.  Or, I refused to hope at all.  Because, isn't it easier to not hope, and therefore not experience disappointment, than to hope and possibly face tough disappointment?  Easier, yes.  But does it feel better?  No, not in my experience.  There is a verse in the book of Proverbs that explains it this way:  Hope deferred makes the heart sick.*  I used to think that that meant it was God's responsibility to come through for me, without much tarrying , or my heart couldn't bear it.  But the word deferred means put off(an action or event) to a later time; postpone.  This puts the responsibility on me.  I can choose to hope, or I can put off hoping.  God doesn't delay hope.  He is our hope.  He simply cannot delay hope.  And he doesn't want us to, either.

But, to hope, is to allow yourself to be authentically vulnerable.  Recently, I had to admit to myself that I wanted something quite a bit.  It had been easier, in the past, to delay hope, and act as though it didn't matter too much.  But I started to feel like such a fraud.  I felt as if I was lying to myself perpetually.  I was.  The truth is, God wants us to hope for certain things.  He gives us longings and desires to hope for.  Even more amazing is the reality that all, not most--but all, of what he wants us to hope for is ultimately for his glory, even if we can't comprehend the magnitude of that.  We read in Jeremiah 29:11 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'  He gives us a hope.  He gives us many hopes, really.  So, each time I minimized that thing that I really wanted, I was denying God the opportunity to give me the future he wants for me.

Not long ago, I read something profound that Oswald Chambers wrote.
Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point.  Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.
I just have to confess that this literally floored me.  Yes, I've heard similar statements before.  And certainly, I've heard faith-messages preached on this concept.  But it always seemed more about what I could do to earn a miracle from God, rather than on His awesome power alone.  My part is to expect and to hope.  Because, after all, love always hopes.*

So, when I got that unexpected text (that brought me immediately to the thing that I greatly hope for), I had a choice.  I could dismiss it, trying to convince myself that none of it mattered anyway (so that I wouldn't have to face any disappointment if nothing resulted).  Or, I could allow myself that moment of excitement that said What if? and then turn it over to God in prayer.  He knows the plans he has for me,* doesn't he?

In my experience on both sides of the spectrum--jaded cynicism and expectant hope--I have to honestly say that hope feels a heck of a lot better.  It may be scarier for a moment, because it's never as easy to be vulnerable and real, but it leaves me in a better place spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Remember what hope deferred does to your heart?*  As a mama to five precious beings, I want to be able to allow them to hope also.  I don't need to teach them to hope, because children are born dreamers!  But I do need to allow them to dream and to hope.  The world, with its cynicism, will begin its attempt to crush their dreams at an early age.  My job is to train them to persevere in hope.  To not delay hope.  Watch out world!  Because, on the other side of deferred hope, is longing fulfilled.  And the Bible declares that a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.*

*Proverbs 13:12; 1 Corinthians 13:7; Jeremiah 29:11
I'm having Coffee For Your Heart today with my friend Holley Gerth


  1. Loved your words, Stephanie. Being expectant and taking God at His word - really believing that His plans are good and that there is hope in them - it's no easy feat. I think its a conscious choice we make every single day. To not believe the lies the enemy sells us and hold fast to his truth - cling to hope as our anchor and not let go. So glad I found you at Holley's link up! Blessings, Tiffany @

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Tiffany! I agree: "cling to hope as our anchor and not let go." The anchor is a good picture! Blessings on you today!