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Hope in Exile

April 05, 2017
Dr. J.B. Hixson
Hope in Exile blog

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  (Proverbs 13:12)

Waiting is no fun.  Nobody knows this better than a child.   When our oldest daughter was eight, we took her and her younger siblings to a neighbor’s swimming pool.  As we walked through the gate into the backyard, we instructed the children to wait by the pool until mom and dad had gotten settled in, and we were ready to watch them.  Bethany sat right on the edge of the pool, anxiously swinging her legs, eagerly awaiting the okay to jump in.  Even though the delay was no more than five minutes, it seemed like an eternity to Bethany!

“Can we get in now?”  She must have asked that question ten times in five minutes.  When we finally gave her permission to get into the water, she was beyond excited.  It was instant joy!  She was splashing and laughing and kicking in utter exhilaration.   For the next two hours, it was non-stop fun in the sun for her and her siblings.

In Proverbs 13:12, Solomon talks about “deferred hope.”  The Hebrew word “deferred” literally means “to drag along” as in “trailing seed in sowing.”  When you plant a seed, you hope that eventually it develops into a plant.  But there is a period of waiting.  The real joy in gardening is not realized until you see the sprouts begin to poke through the ground.

Sometimes God’s harvest in our life is slow in coming.  And sometimes the delay can “make the heart sick,” as Solomon reminds us.  Nevertheless, when the desire is fulfilled it can be as satisfying as fruit from the “tree of life”—a biblical symbol of God’s spiritual and physical renewal. The ultimate desire for which we all hunger and thirst is our eternal redemption in heaven (Rom. 8:23).  But within each day, there are desires—sometimes little, sometimes enormous—that God puts in our heart.  We pray…and hope…and dream.  Sometimes God gives us the desires of our heart quickly.  Other times He delays fulfillment so that when we receive our desire, it makes us all the more glad.

What is it that you are waiting for today?  Do you feel like your hope is in exile?  Are you sitting on the edge of a blessing, dangling your feet in eager expectation?  Hang in there!  God has not forgotten you.  In His time you will find yourself swimming in waters of joy, and when you do, what a day that will be!



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