Proverbs 13:12 – Encouragement When All Hope Seems Lost

I’ve been doing this thing lately where I read one chapter of Proverbs a day.Ā  Since there are 31 chapters, I figured I can read through it once a month, correlating the date and chapter. I just started doing it again about a month ago, but it was something I had done for awhile several months ago.

It’s amazing to see the wisdom and very interesting to see which verses stand out each time reading them. It seems like every day, a different one stands out to me for some reason that is relevant in my life. Today, being the 13th, I was reading chapter 13.

The verse that really stood out to me today was 13:12, it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

This verse really spoke to me because it met me exactly where I’m at. Lately I’ve been really struggling to come to terms with not having certain things I had hoped for; things I thought I’d have by now, but still don’t.

I can honestly say, from experience, that not having those things does make the heart sick. There are times that I think of it, and I just feel physically ill. But here’s the thing, it says “hope deferred.” That doesn’t mean that the hope will never manifest itself in reality, it just means that it’s postponed. God’s timing isn’t our timing, it can be incredibly frustrating at times, but our job is not to figure it all out, or to answer the why, our responsibility is to trust anyway.

This is the best part, if the hope is only postponed, it’s still coming, and it comes with a promise that “when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

A tree of life. Isn’t that amazing. Hope is the seed that we plant, and even if we have to wait longer than we expected or anticipated, that tree will grow, and it will be a tree of life. A tree that will bear fruit, and we will reap a reward far greater than we could have imagined.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”

God gives us the desires of our hearts. I don’t think that means that He gives us whatever we want, but rather, that He places those desires in our hearts. God wouldn’t place something there unless He intends to use it.

Maybe we need that little seed to carry us through a dark time, maybe we’re not ready even though we think we are, but God has something bigger and better than we could ever imagine planned, it is then we have to wait, and trust, even if we don’t feel the hope anymore, that desire will come, and it will be a tree of life. You can’t see a seed that’s planted in the ground, but you can still hope that it will grow.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.”

And James 1:2-4, “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

“Lacking nothing,” I love that. But then there’s also Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” If we choose not to trust, if we lose that faith, then where is the hope? And if we lose hope, then where is the faith?

We have times of weakness, we’re human, we can’t do it in our own power, but God can. “He who has began a good work in you will complete it.” And “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” it was not said in an accomplishment sort of way, but in context was that we could endure any hardships and victories, only in the power of Christ. When we are weak, He is strong.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” We just need to trust, as long as we’re doing that, we’re on the right path. We’re not guaranteed understanding, in fact, we’re told we’re going to have to trust in spite of not understanding. But rather, we’re promised that His light will lead us, and He will direct our paths.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Even though the storms may come, when we don’t know where this path will lead, when we can’t see the next step, God does. And if we trust in Him, He promises to guide us and protect us. He promises to give us the desires of our hearts, and if He has begun that work in us, He will bring it to life.

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