Hope in the River
It rose up in me like a snarly anaconda, deep from my spirit. I didn’t speak, but nasty thoughts turned their fiery breath inside.
It was only a suggestion. Not even a correction. Why such a volcano response?
I’ve learned that anger has roots. Finding those roots can be like a reverse treasure hunt. More like a rattlesnake round-up. Still, it was important to know why.
I asked the Lord and He spoke two words. Hope deferred.
Hope deferred? What could that have to do with anger’s silent seething? Couldn’t I give that anger a quick shove back down where it came from? Or maybe I could shout,
“The Lord rebukes you!”
After all, it wasn’t nice and I knew better. I should be kind.
One problem. All that stuffing was like denying that an anaconda lived in my pond and then going for a nice swim. And inviting my friends. Potluck.
It still waited, only bigger and better fed.
Hope deferred sounded harmless. It wasn’t. I looked it up in the Bible.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12
My heart is ground or soil. God created it to produce good things. When I plant the seed of His promise by believing it, it has the power to generate His will. At least as long as I keep the weeds out. Like that pernicious thistle of hope deferred. It, too, had deep roots. I needed it out before it choked God’s potential in me.
There was more to that Scripture.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
The Bible mentions a tree of life in Genesis, Ezekiel, and Revelation. There is healing in this tree. Not just for me, but for many. God has a tree of life for my garden. No wonder a snake tried to wrap itself around it. There was life in that heart that needed to be free.
I used to think of hope as a vague wish or desire. Just a whim. This is not the God kind of hope, though.
There are ten different Hebrew words for hope. One is tiqvah, a cord or attachment. Rahab tied a scarlet tiqvah in her window as a sign of God’s deliverance and protection for she and her family.
Tiqvah comes from the root qavah, also translated as hope. It is strength by being bound together, like a rope of multiple strands. This rope endures stretching. It is hope placed in the cords of unbreakable promise.
Another Hebrew word for hope is yachal. It means to wait expectantly, to patiently endure because of the assurance of what is coming. The two Greek words for hope also express expectation and confident trust.
Hope is not a wish. It is an absolute assurance and unwavering confidence in One Whose cords hold His promise to us, regardless of our difficulties.
To defer means to put off or delay. But who is deferring my hope? Is it God? No, I am the one who delays hope. It is my own fear, my own lack of understanding that sabotages its power.
I’ll expect God to move another day. Maybe the circumstances aren’t quite right. Maybe I’m not quite right. Hope another day, another time is like a sinking ship. I can see the tip, but know its going down.
Hope deferred raises a giant question mark.
“Well, maybe for others…”
“If you hadn’t done that…”
“If I hadn’t done that…”
I am a steward of my garden. Hope is its supernatural guardian. Like dew, it rises up from my spirit with a gentle moisture to nourish its life. I have the ability to keep hope strong. I feed it truth and my willingness to learn and grow. I feed it with His “I WILL.”
So remember that tree of life and don’t worry when you have to go on a snake hunt. Taking care of the life of God in us is worth some diligence. It requires some humility. That’s because it’s harvest is way bigger then we’ve ever imagined.