Who hasn’t been disappointed? You miss out on the position or promotion. The invitation you expected never arrives. Every day of the tropical holiday you saved for is raining. The pain of relationship breakdown is too much. The doctor says ‘the cancer is back.’ You can’t shake the depression.
I love writing and speaking about God’s goodness. I love sharing his grace and the hope I have in him. But sometimes things get in the way. A situation will rise that will shake feelings and force me to question the words I write. Do I really believe God wants good for me? Is he really on my side?
These aren’t faith killing questions. They are questions of disappointment from someone who has lost hope, or as the proverb say, ‘the heart sick.’ This would be bad if the verse ended here. Maybe it would be bad even if there was a fullstop, but there is a comma. In other words, your questions, and disappoints are not the final words.
The second part of the proverb says that ‘desire fulfilled is the tree of life.’ Let’s be honest, reading this doesn’t give me much hope initially. Obviously the proverb is saying that getting our desire met is a great thing, but isn’t this why the waiting is so hard. Talk about amplifying it.
Imagery and its Implications
But look at the imagery the proverbs uses – ‘the tree of life.’ Ring any bells? It takes us to the book ends of the Bible – creation and restoration. The tree of life is a picture of God’s provision in Eden and reintroduced in the grander vision of the garden city of Revelation. The image of trees is in the Psalms and prophets (especially Jeremiah 17) as an intimacy with God.
As a whole this image is a reminder that God has ‘written eternity’ on our hearts. Nothing will ever satisfy our deepest longings aside from Jesus. Only Jesus can wipe away every tear in the beauty of his redemptive plan. Only Jesus has what it takes to heal sick heart. The waiting makes the reality of Jesus’ return and our eternal life with him sweeter because, although we long for it now, we do so with absolute certainty. It’s a bit like Christmas as a child, the waiting was agony, but you knew it would come.
What About Today’s Hopes? And Tomorrow’s hurts
Does all this mean we shouldn’t hope for things today? I mean, is it ok to hope for that new job, healing, or opportunity? Or do we abandon ourselves, fight all temptation, and only hope for the heavenly?
I have to believe it’s ok to hope for earthly things. It’s impossible not to. For sure, there will be times when our hopes will be dashed. We will face disappointment. And this will hurt. But I also trust that God is able to pick up the bits of disappointments, broken dreams and heartaches and still make something worthwhile.
This post originally appeared on DarrylEyb.net and was republished with permission.
I am a pastor, blogger and speaker. I help ordinary people connect with an extraordinary God, so they can follow Jesus in their everyday life.