Sunday, March 12, 2017

Courage When Hope Continues to Disappoint

SEASONS of life come and go, and in God’s goodness there’s a variety of them. But what about when what we hope for continues to elude us?
Proverbs 13:12 (NRSV) says,
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Some hopes remain elusive for years. Some never materialise. However hard this concept is to accept, we’re counselled to hold in tension the truth that God has good plans for us. Part of those plans, I’m sure, is how He makes us sturdier of spirit for having been disappointed; for having had the courage to take reality on; having the courage to accept hopes that may/will never eventuate.
There are hopes we all have that continue to disappoint us, some ultimately so. And so what do we do with these unreconciled dreams?
Some wither and fade over time, and we don’t need to do anything apart from be patient. Other hopes deferred continue to harass us, especially when, in every conceivable reality, those hopes are realistic, even doable. Unfortunately, there are also some hopes we harbour that are unrealistic, and it’s worse still when we don’t quite have the courage to face those realities, especially when we suspect our cowardice.
A hope deferred is an ambiguous loss, which is a loss that confounds us because we don’t have the assurance of loss. Sometimes it’s best to simply know a hope is lost and not be left hanging.
We need patience and courage when hopes continue to disappoint.
Here’s a model prayer to help us based off the Serenity Prayer:
Lord, give me patience to wait for the hopes that haven’t arrived yet, courage to let go of unrealistic hopes, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

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