Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
— Proverbs 13:12
17P0070_0014.jpg

It has not been an easy week in the Fry household. Rejection has run rampant in both of our lives, finding us weary, finding us thankfully to be on our knees. Dirty obedience is what I’m calling it now, seeking, knocking, with our circumstances showing little of what we would want them to look like.

I’ve been using Eugene Peterson’s newest book, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, to help me prompt prayers and point me to Christ crucified on every page, especially when words have found themselves lacking. Today I found myself in the chapter on “The Root of Jesse,” tracing the storyline of the prophet Isaiah finding himself in the wake of Assyria devastating the land of Israel. Where were God’s promises in the midst of this devastation?

I found myself praying something similar, watching hopes deferred in front of both mine and my husband's eyes, looking around at what seems like a wasteland for the things we thought we were told to be faithful to, feeling truly that sickness and death.

Isaiah 11 then tells us that not only that a shoot will come forth from a stump, but the nations will seek that shoot now grown. A shoot growing from what looks dead. Seeking to be found in this growth, this banner to rule all, where His dwellings will be glorious.

A person can go through the worst, lose every vestige of hope, have every shred of faith pulled away from the soul, leaving it bare and shivering in a world where all the evidence says God is dead, live through that, and become a person of faith again, become convinced that nothing else is worth anything compared to discovering the truth and reality of God. Several times during the lecture, Elie Wiesel used the word midrash. ‘If we are realistic persons, honest persons, alert persons,’ he said, ‘then midrash will enter our lives.’ The word midrash is a Hebrew word that means to seek out.
— Eugene Peterson

I was able to finish my in-depth study of Ruth this week, with disaster abounding within the first five verses of the text, and barely any mentions of the Lord throughout the entirety of the book. Lots of things that “just so happen,” and lots of mentions of BEHOLD, or SURPRISE, as if everything is ironically coming by chance. It’s the actions of the ordinary, the ones taking on what it looks like to hold on to a vow, a covenant, the beauty of the Hebrew word hesed, that show as well as foretell the redemption that will come from the root of Jesse.

In the midst of following the Lord into what seems dark, where around us hope is deferred, devastation seeming to abound, there is a growth, a sprig of green, coming from the death. From this will grow the true tree of life, the only answer to our consistent “why,” and the comfort in forever fulfillment. He is on the move, no matter what we can or cannot see, hear, taste, or touch. He will stop at nothing less than full redemption. We must seek the Lord amidst this mundane, amidst what looks like destroyed dreams, and we will find that we can see nothing less than a fountain filled with blood. 

He remains always true to His promises, to Himself, and we lie in that dirty obedience seeking Him. He hasn't failed us yet, although there have been times when prematurely I have said so.

I won't let go until You bless me.