“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12
Scripture reading: Proverbs 13:12-17
Nobody likes their hopes denied or put off. If you fail your driver’s exam, the girlfriend says no, or the promotion goes to someone else, you are disappointed. But, if you pass your driver’s test, the girlfriend says yes, or you get the promotion, you are delighted, or as the proverb puts it, “It is a tree of life.”
All of this suggests we need to be careful about what we hope for. Don’t set your hopes too high. You don’t need riches and the best of everything to be happy. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. You don’t need to be number one or king of the world. Romans 12:3 tells us not to think too highly of ourselves. Have modest hopes and keep them at a level at which you can fulfill them.
The problem here is that we are born sinners. We are prone to be too self-centred and self-promoting. We need to listen carefully to Jesus as he tells us, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” This amounts to the death of our old sinful hearts. Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
This sounds demanding, but it comes with the promise of sin forgiven and a new heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). That leads to modest desires and “a tree of life.”
Suggestions for prayer
Ask God that we might all have new hearts and desires that can be fulfilled.
Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.