“Hope deferred makes the heart sick . . . ” Proverbs 13:12
I think that was my life scripture during the decade of my life between the ages of 18 and 28. At the age of 18, I was young, pretty, full of life, full of dreams, desires, passion, and excitement. I graduated from high school and headed off to a Christian college in Southern California where I was certain to meet my future mate, get my teaching degree, get married, and head off to the mission field. A year later, I was back at home and attending the university I said I would never go to. I had no friends, no one my age to talk to, and I felt like I had crashed and burned. The early 20s were probably the loneliest years of my life. By the age of 23, I was sitting alone in a hotel room in India; I was sick, lonely, and depressed as I celebrated my birthday. I was also thousands of miles away from home with no way to talk to my loved ones, and so to pass the time, I searched through my study Bible to find every example, use, and definition of the word “hope”. All I knew was that I was heartsick and had to find a way to hope as it would eventually lead me to faith again. Little did I know that I would still have many years of hope deferred.
A few years later, a young, single missionary, who was leading the life that I wanted, was speaking to me and telling me that he felt like God had shown him the word “disappointment” for me. I was honestly disappointed that God would even show him that as this young guy had nothing else to tell me but that he saw me and disappointment. I thought great, well Lord, you showed him my open wound and gave neither him nor me any clue of how to get rid of it . . . and why couldn’t I have gotten a good word?
So back to Proverbs 12:13 I went . . . and The Message version says it like this: “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick.” Ugh, I knew heartsickness well.
Yet by the age of 28, I’d really gotten on with things. I had traveled, worked in ministry, had my heart broken, learned what an idiot I could be, figured out what things about me could change, what things shouldn’t change, and realized that it was up to me to enjoy and embrace life as it was. I found renewed purpose, new dreams, and I knew who my God was and what His promises were. I wasn’t going to be disappointed anymore, and funnily enough, my hopes and dreams came back alive while I was again living in Southern California. It also just so happened, that a few months later, after I was quite happy with myself and where I was headed, God answered the cry of my heart by sending my Mr. Right. I only waited about 10 years for him . . . . that’s another story though. And all that happened after that and leading up until now is also another story.
So here I am (again), writing a blog at 10:50 at night, tired, a bit crabby, and still needing to hang out the wet clothes that are sitting in the wash. And I refuse to go to bed, because I know that tonight will just be like most of my recent nights have been – lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and pondering all that God’s put on my heart. Talking to Him about the how’s, why’s, what if’s, and why not’s. Telling Him how much money is needed for this and how frustrated I am with that. Trying to quiet my loud self so that I can hear His quiet self. Reassuring myself that I can continue hoping and that some of my oldest dreams are not dead. They’re just in waiting. It’s just not time yet. Reminding myself that hope is a quiet, confident assurance of what is to come. Hope is worthwhile. And as the rest of Proverbs 13:12 says “a sudden good break can turn life around.” I’m waiting on that good break, and seeing how I have a bit more wisdom and experience than my 23 year old, sitting in India self did, I also know that dreams do come true. Sometimes it just takes a while, and most times it takes a lot of faith and a lot of perseverance . . .