Wellness Beyond Pills 4

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Roots of Sickness

6. Hope Deferred

Hope is a good thing; hope deferred is not. Proverbs 13:12 tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (NIV) The word hope is the Hebrew word, tôḥeleṯ: “This word is found most often in the Wisdom Literature of Proverbs. Hope is associated with the prosperity of the righteous (Prov. 10:28; 11:7); and is seen as the spring from which the desire for life flows (Prov. 13:12). Jeremiah lamented that his soul was destitute because his hope in the Lord had perished (Lam. 3:18).”[1] There is no life in our souls without hope. The word deferred means, “To draw off, to drag, to pull up, to prolong. It is used of pulling someone out of a location (Gen. 37:28; Jer. 38:13); to pull an object (Deut. 21:3); to pick out and retrieve something.”[2]

What we are talking about here is hoping for something that probably will never come. It is now the realization that what we hope for is gone. It is that emotion that hope is gone. You believe for your marriage to be restored, but now you have the divorce papers in front of you; you hope to be promoted in your job; you felt you had the qualifications, but others keep passing you over, etc. It is that emotion that makes the heart sick. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

God has a plan for us; his plan will indeed come to fruition. So, if what we are hoping is not happening; is it because either it is not part of God’s plan or because there is something God is trying to work out of you first? “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) When we lose that faith we are left with a sick heart.

To be continued…


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 1216.

[2] Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 681.

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