"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."
Have you ever had an expectation of something that you knew was certain to come, and it seemed to take forever for that day to arrive? If so, you understand better this passage of Scripture. The word "deferred" is a reference to something that is prolonged or something that seems to drag on. I cannot help but associate this verse with Titus 2:13 which says, "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."
This is fresh on my mind, because I found myself in a situation yesterday where the world's corruption was so obvious. Without going into any detail, I felt like I was having some "out of body" experience. While I use that expression figuratively, it seemed so surreal. I was caught in a place and situation where what was going on was obviously corrupt and sinful, but I felt as if I was alone in my thinking. I looked around at every one else waiting to see another face that was expressing surprise and disgust. Instead, I saw people cheering on those things which I thought would most definitely bring shame. I felt so alone, and these words played over and over again in my mind: "Even so, Lord, come quickly."
I realize that some of you have been in situations in this world like that, and the longing for the Lord to return was so great. This would be the perfect description of hope being deferred and making the heart sick. The Bible says that there is a groaning in the heart of the believer and even all of creation as it waits for the day of redemption and adoption. It is a yearning for all things to be made whole as God has ordained that they will be. While now my heart is craving that day, I am sure that it will come. It is not a "hope so" but a sure hope because it is in Christ. Our passage says that when that desire is fulfilled it will be as if we are eating from the tree of life. The fruit of a tree that satisfies the cravings of our spiritual desires. There will be life everlasting without the vileness of sin and degradation. There will be pure water of righteousness to drink from instead of the polluted ways of the flesh. There will be the eternal presence of Almighty God that will banish all darkness into the obscure shadows of hell.
We are told in Scripture that there will be a day when Jesus steps out onto the clouds so that every eye will see Him. The nations of the earth, those that have rejected Christ, will mourn on that day, because they will realize that their judgment has come. The writer however says this to believers, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." Let the words of the song writer ring in your hearts today: "What a day that will be when My Jesus I shall see. When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace. When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be!"
May you have hope in Christ today!