Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hope deferred....

I was reading another woman's testimony online today, and she had a line that jumped out and caught my eye: "Hope deferred makes a heart sick." She was speaking of a season in her life where she disliked her job and single life, and while neither of those apply to me, that sentiment of hopelessness (or rather, misplaced hope) does.
I'm being reminded of the C.S. Lewis passage about how we as finite, temporal beings are like fish in a fish bowl. Our concept of time is basically based on the fact that it's always running out for us from the moment we're born so we're consumed with it, saving it, keeping it, delaying it, etc. This speaks right into our current state of mind: we want it our way right away. I am one of those people 100%. Instant gratification goes a long way in making me happy. If I could just lose all my weight NOW, I'd be happy. If I could make Bear obey me YESTERDAY, things would be great. These things take time... and discipline... and God. Too often I remember the first two, but because I'm lazy, I cringe, and I recklessly fail to remember God's helping hand in my life because I'm too scared He'll really help. But what about those times when I do pray, and do ask Him for help, and it seems there is no answer, nor ever will be? It makes your heart sick, doesn't it? But that phrase "deferred" is so crucial, isn't it? I've been seeking immediate answers or results in MY time frame, all the while pretending to ask it in HIS will, never once acknowledging the fact that it could merely be a deferment, a resting if you will. Faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things not seen. It appears that my faith has taken rather a beating, but wastefully! My heart has been sad not because my hope is deferred but because my faith is misplaced, or at the very least misrepresented. Truly, the things I'm hoping for are GOOD things, and I've felt both self-righteous and indignant at my perceived lack of response. But I'm beginning to see what I've always said: God is bigger than I am, and His ways are not my ways!! I still don't know why he hasn't answered my prayers the way that I want Him to, but I'm a little more at peace about it than I have been in a long time.
I'm reminded of a scripture that a dear, wise friend shared with me:
"Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:23-25. Looks like I need to straighten my priorities for things a little less temporal and a little more eternal!


runningtherace said...

What an awesome verse! Thanks for sharing it. I think the most poignant part is "Who hopes for what he already has?" May I encourage you today to write out a list of the things God has given you and prayers He has answered for you already. It is always a real perspective shifter for me to do that when I recognize that I'm out of line. Love you friend!

Your Kind Host said...

Very well said, my love - how true for me as well, one quick to boast about how big God is to others and one quick to talk about past spiritual successes but equally as quick to get so mad at God for not doing things on my time ... all the while He keeps on providing and sustaining and He lets us simply be what He has created us to be ... messy us.

And still He loves us.

Biz said...

Isn't it funny how we ask God to show us, to speak to us, to teach us, except we never stop long enough to hear what he has to say on a subject because we just might not like his answer? I'm there with you... I'm going through a humbling of 'self' right now too. I'll be praying for you! Keep your chin up!

Mari said...

One of my favorites Romans 5:5 - And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Second part of the verse about hope deferred is "but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." May your longings be fulfilled in the Father.

Great book on hope deferred Hope Resurrected by Dutch Sheets. Be blessed, be encouraged - HOPE!