The Cure for Deferred Hope
From a strictly English-definition-standpoint the meaning of the word deferred has always frustrated me. It means “to delay, to put off, to postpone to a later time”. I always felt like I had no control over it. How could I make my hopes materialize sooner? I can’t, that’s why this verse always greatly frustrated me. (The meaning of the word deferred here in Hebrew means basically the same thing, that is, be postponed, to be drawn out.)
But there is more than one way you can look at what hope deferred means. One way is that someone other than yourself (like God) is deferring (or delaying) the manifestation of your hope. Not a pleasant thought and makes it seem like God is not doing the best thing for me. That can’t actually be true since God is love and is always doing the very best thing for all of His children. (It is entirely possible that the delaying of having a hope fulfilled by God is Him doing the very best for you.)
Another way to look at deferred hope is to realize that your hope may be misplaced. In other words you are hoping in the wrong thing. You don’t have solid ground to hope in what you are hoping in, it does not come to pass, you feel cheated, your heart gets sick. Another way to say this is that you have wrong expectations. It could be that the thing hoped for is not “wrong” but the way you expect or think it should manifest is “off”. This is similar to trying to dictate to God how He should answer your prayers.
Another way to look at hope deferred is to realize that you once had hope in a right and proper thing (biblical promise) but you have displaced or somehow lost your hope. You got distracted perhaps and stopped fighting the good fight of faith. I know this sounds a lot like the paragraph above but one is never having the proper hope to begin with and the other is losing your proper hope by somehow getting distracted and/or losing your biblical vision.
The cure depends on which type of hope deferred is affecting you. In the first type, God is totally in control and there is nothing you can do. Or is there? You can trust. Renew your trust in God. Meditate on scriptures on His love for you or on other aspects of His character. Make a conscious choice to trust in Him more.
In the other two, the cure is basically the same. You have to go back to scripture, wait on God and pray through until you are sure you are hoping in what God says and not just in what you want.
That last sentence was loaded.
You must go to God’s Word.
You must wait on Him. That part can’t be rushed. You can’t make God “hurry up”. (You can pray for or ask Him to “make haste” though since David did! See Ps. 38:22, Ps. 40:13, Ps. 70:1 for examples written out at bottom of post.)
You must pray through until….don’t stop praying until you are sure you are hearing from God. This may take some time as in hours, days, weeks!
One last thing to help with a cure for deferred hope is to talk to yourself. Yes, you heard me correctly. Again, this is what David did.Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Ps. 42:5 KJV (See also Ps. 42:11 and Ps. 43:5 for similar verses.)
You can look at talking to yourself as encouraging yourself in the Lord. You are telling your own soul or inner self to be determined and to make a firm choice in hoping in God.
What are some areas in your life where you are experiencing deferred hope? When was the last time you looked at the basis of that hope? Is it grounded on God’s Word and in His promises? Have you allowed yourself to get distracted from real faith in God? Have you lost your trust in Him in that area? Based on these questions and what I shared in this article, what then do you need to do to start moving in a better direction? Please share your intentions in the comment section below.
(c) 2013 Cheryl Cope
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