When your hope fails you

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Ro. 5:5

Have you ever had days when the last bit of hope seemed extinguished? When that happens you have no desire to go on — and life seems bleak and purposeless. 

I’ve been there — when the one thing you prayed for doesn’t get answered as you hoped.

In my twenties, the only thing on my mind it seemed, was getting married. I wanted my godly prince to find me and sweep me off my feet. But as I approached my 30th year, my heart felt sick. 

I could really identify with this verse: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Pr. 13:12

After praying nearly daily for a decade and seeing no apparent results, I began to express my disappointment to God. I felt like he let me down. Hadn’t I broken up with my  boyfriend who threw my Bible down when I told him that I had given my life to Jesus? Hadn’t I tried to live a “pure” life before him?

So I spent most of my 29th year grieving the loss of husband I wouldn’t have or the children I had hoped and dreamed about.

But God is ever patient with us. He could handle my anger and disappointment. I shed tears on more than one occasion over the matter. In the end, I chose to accept His sovereign will over my life. If the best He had for me was a single life, then I’d make the most of it. 

Looking back, I can see that I’d placed my hope in having a husband and having babies of my own. And not having this dream fulfilled did make me sick. But thankfully, I did not stay there. 

Hope is a beautiful word that’s like a bridge to all that is good in this world. The turning point for me was when I re-centered my hope in Jesus. And in Him alone. I had to let go of the life I imagined for myself and trust that God knew better. And I think that’s the only kind of hope that won’t disappoint us ever. 

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Ro. 5:5

Solomon and the other authors of the book of Proverbs did not live in a time when the Holy Spirit was readily available to them. But we live in a time when God can pour His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. And this is the true hope that I anchor my soul in —  the Lord Jesus, the hope of glory.

I eventually did get married at age 33 to someone I’d met in my twenties. (The story of how that happened is here.) I’m so thankful that God held him off — to His perfect timing. Now, decades later, it’s easy to see the story He was weaving. 

Friend, whatever hopes and dreams you may have today, I pray that you would entrust them in God’s hands. If it’s from Him and if it’s for you, you will receive the fulfillment of your heart’s desire in His time. And if like me, you need to re-center your the focus of your hope in the Lord Jesus, take time today to do so.

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