Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Our Hope has been Deferred, but the Promise is Sure!

Meditation for the week of December 12, 2010

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

My wife and I follow the journeys of a number of people whose children have cancer.  We watch as they wait expectantly for the Lord to cure the cancer using their doctor’s wisdom.  If the doctor tells them that normally the kind of cancer that their child has is curable, we see them rejoice as they realize that there is hope.   But in some cases, the doctor’s give up and tell the families that there is nothing that can be done.  They are told that they have “no hope.” 

Hope deferred is not as bad as a situation with no hope.  Hope is one of the key elements of life.  We all need air, food, water, and shelter.  We need love—real nurturing unconditional love.  But we also need hope.  We need to know that the future holds something for us that we can anticipate with joy. 

This time of the year, children look forward with anticipation to Christmas.  They expect that on Christmas eve or Christmas day, they are going to get to open some presents—some of which will NOT be clothes.  They will laugh and jump up and down with joy when they get their electronic games, their DVD’s, their scooters, bicycles and ice skates.  Their joy might be in the wrong things, but when the gifts are opened, we get a little picture of what Solomon meant when he said, “when desire comes, it is a tree of life.”  The children are happy and they are filled with “life.”  They are certainly not running around disappointed and depressed.  However, If they are among the unfortunate whose parents are without jobs, they might hear their parents tell them that there will be no presents this year; but that hopefully, in another year, things will be different.  You can imagine their disappointment as their “hope is deferred.” 

According to Paul, the unsaved are “without hope (Ephesians 2:12).”  Hope in the Scripture is linked to the resurrection and to the expectation that the Lord is going to return.  We know and have faith that He is going to return, but we hope that it will be soon.  When a Christian dies, the fact that the Lord will raise that person from the dead and take him or her home to be with Him forever, gives the Christian mourner a hope that the unsaved do not have.  That is why Christians sorrow not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  Yet, our hope has been deferred for 2,000 years.  Some believe that the Lord will never keep His promise to return (2 Peter 3:4).  Others of us have started living as though he won’t return and have gotten caught up in the pursuits of this world.  Others know that while our hope has been deferred, the promise has not been forgotten by the Lord Himself. 

Hope is a great motivator.  If we really believe in the possibility of the Lord returning at any moment, we certainly will want to be ready to meet Him.  We aren’t ready to meet Him if we are not cleansed by His blood (1 John 1:7).  We need to be “born again” (1 Peter 1:23) or “saved” (Acts 4:12).  We who are saved certainly want to be occupied with that which pleases the Lord when He comes, since we don’t want to be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28).  Wouldn’t it be great to meet the Lord when He comes while meeting with a fellowship of Christians worshiping in a way that pleases Him, and who are encouraging each other to live in a way that pleases Him? 

The Jews had their hope deferred for a long time when the Lord came the first time.  But Lord came and their desire came.  We who are waiting for the Lord to come again have had our hope deferred for a long time as well.  But our desire will come.  The Lord has promised it, and it will happen.  Believe it!  Think of the joy that will be ours if we are truly ready when that promise is fulfilled.

Bruce Collins

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