Hope Deferred… Good morning Hump Day Readers. I ‘hope’ you enjoy this devotion about HOPE! I had already started a different angle for this Hump Day but something kept me from being able to write it! It was like the Archangel Michael standing in front of me with his sword saying, “you cannot go there”—so I gave in. I mean, who wants to wrestle with God’s General? And just after that encounter, I turned on the news and then I realized where God wanted me to go—it was HOPE.

In this last week, think of how many lives that have been taken in our raging wars, gun battles, gang-turfs, the rise of Covid again, poverty, loss of life and so much more. It’s no wonder that, for many people who have lost their love ones, hope is once again deferred. We all have experienced those times where our hopes are raised only to see them dashed. One minute we’re flying high—the next we flat on our face.

Joni Eareckson Tada is one person who understands deferred hope. She says, “That’s how I felt after the accident that paralyzed me when I was a teenager. At first, I had hopes that I might recover, so I prayed for miraculous healing. But after hundreds of prayers, being anointed with oil, confessing sin, and going to scores of healing services at church, I felt it was clear that I would never walk away from my wheelchair. My hopes were crushed; I was heartbroken. I learned that God is not about to deny my good hope of walking again. He has only postponed it. And yes, one day, my hopes will find fulfillment in heaven. However, in the meantime God has a far more glorious plan than giving me legs that walk. As a blood-bought disciple of Jesus, I have confidence that His will for me in my quadriplegia is “good and acceptable and perfect” and I have accepted that even as hard as that may seem.”

In Proverbs 13:12 [ESV], we learn that…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

 We often skip over the word ‘deferred’ and instead, use the word ‘denied’ which only makes us even more filled with bitter anger toward God, others, and yes—even ourselves.

As hard as it can be with dashed hopes, we must remember God is in the mix of all of this. For many of us, it is very hard to understand that our afflictions are a part of God’s good and perfect will for us. Our human minds say “this makes no sense, God, where were you when I needed you?” Joni shares her thoughts on this saying, “In those early days after my accident, everything I read in the Bible sounded like a platitude. But then I stumbled upon Isaiah 50:10b [NLT]: “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God.” Wow—that described me perfectly—in the dark with not a single ray of light.

Believe it or not, that verse gave me NO joy, but—it gave me HOPE! In fact it just felt so-so good to have the fluttering of hope in my heart again. So I thought, OK, let me get this straight. If I trust in Him, God will fill me with all—not some but all—joy and peace? And then hope will overflow? Well, that almost sounded almost too good to be true but I had no other place to hang my hopes except on God, right?

So, daily I would go back to Isaiah 50 and read it so often I probably have read it over 1,000 times! All I can say is my trust in God grew, my hope in God’s purpose for my life grew, and my faith in God’s goodness grew.”

Here’s the bottom line: ‘faith’ is just a word—a fancy religious word—until it is put to work and scuffed up…until it emerges from the work of life and has a little holy grit on it, and that, my friends, is when our faith roars inside our heart, soul, and mind reminding us that power we have in our faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, you may have hope deferred right now, but hang on—what Jesus is going to be doing in your life is worth the wait! AMEN.