Another year, another reminder that you’re still waiting.
Another change of seasons comes and goes. And here you are, feeling defeated, disappointed, heartbroken, again. Every year it gets harder to hope. Because every year, you are hopeful that this time next year will be different. And every year, it never is.
When time runs long, hope wears thin.
Sometimes, it even wears out.
Maybe your birthday is hard, because it means you’re another year older, and haven’t gotten any closer to your dream.
Maybe certain holidays are hard, because they remind you that last year, you had so much hope for this year – but now this year is here, and nothing has changed.
Maybe you have a specific day that no one knows about, just an ordinary one, like June 12th or September 3rd, that mean something to you because God gave you hope on that date, and you couldn’t wait until the date came round again, because it held the promise of God.
Maybe those birthdays and holidays and special dates have just been piling up year after year, and you don’t even want to think about how many years it’s been, because it’s just too heartbreaking.
I don’t know what you’re waiting on, or what you’ve been referring to at every marker of time when you say “this time next year will be different”.
But I do know that you are losing your hope. Because nothing ever changes.
It was easy in the early days of your desires. You had faith, hope and trust. You believed that God would be faithful and keep his promises to you. You just knew, that if you kept trusting him, you could make it through a little bit more waiting. A few more months to make it to next year.
So you set out to hold out. You set your heart to hold out for his answer. You purposed to not give in to disappointment. You held your head high and said, “Well, it didn’t happen this year. But it will happen soon! I’m disappointed, but it’s OK, because I know that God’s timing is perfect!”
But then another year passed. And it landed you right back in the same place. You remembered how you had thought it would be different by this time. And here you are, and it’s not different. You still haven’t seen any sort of sign that God is any closer to giving the desires of your heart.
You were more than a little disappointed this time.
This time, a tiny question entered the back of your mind, just for a split second. You wondered, “Was I wrong about God?”
But you dismissed it just as quickly as it entered. No, he is always good. He is faithful. I know he will come through for me.
So with a bit of sadness, but still a lot of hope, you set out yet again to hold out.
And before you knew it, another year had come and gone, again.
You reached that birthday or that holiday or that date that you marked on your heart, and it was a painful day, because you remembered. You remembered when you thought it would be different by this time, this day. And … it’s still not different.
And before you knew it, the years kept coming and going, kept stacking on one another like a pile of heavy weight on your soul as each year got more and more difficult to trust. With every year that passed, you felt your faith and hope slipping away.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. [Proverbs 13:12]
Holding out for something you weren’t even sure you were right about in the first place.
All the doubts cloak your heart in confusion and fear.
“Maybe I heard him wrong. Maybe this isn’t supposed to happen for me. Maybe my hope was in vain. Maybe he doesn’t see me. Maybe he hasn’t heard my cries.
Maybe, he doesn’t care.
Maybe, he isn’t good.
Maybe, he isn’t always faithful.
Maybe he’s faithful to some people, but not me.
Maybe, I should stop believing.
Maybe, I should let go of this hope, because holding on may be actually destroying me.”
Friend, do you feel how real those questions are in your own heart right now?
Do you feel the weight of the journey weighing on you and squishing every ounce of the faith and hope you once had, right out?
Do you see how they evolve from attacking your vulnerable heart, to attacking the character and nature of God? Do you see how they then try to take you out completely? To just stop? To just lay down, give up, and let everything die? Do you see how they kill your dreams and desires? Do you see how they snuff out all hope?
Friend, I know that every one of those thoughts is exactly how you feel. I know how real they are. I know how deep you feel the ache.
Feel them, think them, don’t try to fight them. It’s OK, you’re not weak. You are human. Allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to feel all of it, and don’t push it aside.
But friend, don’t let them win.
When you are done acknowledging all the thoughts, when you have no more tears left to cry, when you’re completely drained of emotion, when you’ve yelled and punched your pillow a thousand times and fallen on your face crying – when you’ve exhausted and spent yourself in the deep ache you feel…
Decide that this isn’t where this story ends.
This isn’t the end of this.
Decide that right here, right now, is not the final word.
Decide that you will dare to pick up hope again.
Decide to do the bravest, most courageous, bold thing you could possibly dare to do in the face of your situation – glance over at hope.
When everything in you wants to run far, far away from any tiny sliver of any hope at all?
Dare to stay right there. Dare to turn your head towards that tiny glimmer, and look it in the eye.
Dare to say to that hope, “I will not lose you”
Dare to move towards it, and pick it up, and hold it tight.
I don’t know what you have been crying out for. I don’t know what you’ve been longing for all these years, and what’s been making you ache with hope deferred and a sick heart.
But can I just tell you something? I want to speak truth in place of the lies you hear. Let them drown out all the lies and doubt, even say them out loud, speak them to your own heart:
He is the Author and Finisher of your faith, your story, all of history – and he is faithful to finish what he started.
Nothing is too hard for him.
No situation is impossible for him.
He is the God of the impossible. He does miracles. Against all odds.
There is so much happening behind the scenes of your story, that you cannot see.
Nothing is wasted. All those years have not been wasted. Even you, yourself, have not been wasted.
Dreams are coming alive underneath the earth where nothing is visible above. Growth is rapidly happening. What’s taking place underground in the garden of your deepest dreams is remarkable.
I know that garden looks dead, lifeless, and that all the seeds you’ve sown are just not going to ever sprout.
But keep hope alive. Get faith, and guard it with your life. Someday is not as far away as you think.
Who knows but that tomorrow, you will see the very first sprout?
Maybe tomorrow is your day – the day you will see it for the first time. The day your entire life will change.
But if not?
Keep going. You’ve got to keep going. You can do this. Yes, you can.
Become so preoccupied with who Jesus is that where you are on the journey matters not.
And some day soon, you’ll be on the other side of all the long, exhausting, heartbreaking uncertainty and waiting and anxiety.
You will be on the other side. You will.
Before you know it, you’ll be staring your dreams right in the face, holding them in your arms, laughing at the overflowing joy of desire fulfilled.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. [Proverbs 13:12]
Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning. [Psalm 30:5]