“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
We were on our way home from a week-long vacation spent with extended family. My husband asked the kids what he always asks: “So, guys, what was your favorite part of the trip?” Our eldest answered first about his favorite activities and interactions with his cousins and their friends. My youngest answered with “all of it.” Then our 2nd child responded with words I’ll never forget. “My favorite part of the trip? Getting there.”
Wow. Amazing to think that for my daughter, “getting there” was more exciting than actually “being there.”
How often this is the case with me. I am beyond thrilled…anticipating an event of some kind. I’ll spend weeks preparing as I dream about what it will look like, feel like, be like…what I will wear, eat and do…then the day comes, and being there, as great as it might be, isn’t nearly as exciting as it was getting there.
Not everyone makes their plans so big that it is a step down the happiness scale to actually live them out. But for many, maybe even you, this is so.
You dream of the wedding day…it comes and you feel exhausted.
The wedding night comes…well, I won’t even go there.
The job you spent weeks training for turns out to have a difficult coworker in it.
Becoming a parent or an empty nester, a new ministry position, a house, a career opportunity, a relationship, an award…in all these things and more, how often do our expectations exceed the actual experience?
Not always…but often.
No wonder the Bible encourages us over and Over and Over again to turn and fix our eyes upon Jesus, to put our hope in Him. He is the only One who exceeds our expectations. Every time I think He will do something good, He does something magnificent. When I come to Him dependent, broken and in need of assurance, He overwhelms me with waves of mercy and grace. Sometimes He makes me wait for that longing to be fulfilled from Him, but when it is, it knocks me off my feet and onto my knees in awe of Him.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,whom He has given us.”
When we seek Him first, realizing that it is He who holds all things together, that no great happening is anything at all without Him in it, then He will begin to change our responses to the everyday letdowns, big or small. As we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us as our Source and our Guide, and our goal is to make Him greater in the hours and days of our lives, then He will be. Our circumstances, our families, our friends, our own selves will disappoint us now and then, but the Lord will never leave our longings unfulfilled. He is powerful in our here, our there and our everywhere in-between, because He lives in us!
Is He your one true hope? What blank does He need to fill in your life today? Seek Him in it. Ask Him. He is already right there, waiting to exceed your expectations, maybe even changing them some along the way.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”