Happy New Year and welcome to 2017. I am deeming this the year of Hope. The word and idea of Hope keep continuing to surface in my life these days and I always write about what I am living. The Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” in Proverbs 13:12. I meet a lot of people who have lost hope and feel that it is part of my job in this life to “restore hope” to those who come my way, whether they be clients or friends.
When you lose hope, you truly are living in “the dark night of the soul” and it is the worst place to be. I have been there. I remember being newly separated, I couldn’t find a job and I was looking at losing my house to foreclosure. I felt like a total failure and although I had spent many months believing that God would provide for my daughter and myself, we were struggling to keep our head above water. I remember the dark day that I said, out loud, “I give up.” This was not said in surrender to God’s sovereignty but in complete and utter loss of hope. I would like to say that I remember the day that I began to have my hope restored as clearly as this day but I don’t.
I do remember that hopeless day quoting this scripture in Proverbs out loud in an effort to explain to myself and God just how heartsick I was. Back then I believed that I needed God to restore my hope and that I had no control over whether I was hopeful or not. I have since come to understand that hope deferred is a choice. Will I be hopeful, even when I see no reason to hope or will I defer my hope and live heartsick? We really do have control of our mindset. Many people believe that they have no control over their thoughts but this is just not true. Even in the midst of hopeless circumstances, we can choose to remain hopeful.
I believe faith and hope go hand in hand and it is difficult to have one without the other. The dictionary defines hope as: noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen and verb: want to happen or be the case. Wikipedia says hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes. Hope takes faith to the next level. Faith believes it can happen. Hope expects it to happen. I love the second part of Proverbs 13:12,” …a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”. The tree of life is mentioned in Genesis, Proverbs, and Revelation and inferred in other books as well. It is also symbolic in many other religions as central and significant.
Those of you who know me, know how much I love nature and love how God uses it. If you are struggling with hope, remember it is a choice. You can choose hope and once you see the fulfillment of your hope, it is like a tree of life, connected to earth and reaching toward heaven, displaying life and often fruit, bringing rest and restoration in it’s shade, and a home for many of God’s creatures. Choose to remain in hope. God is faithful to do what He has promised and He loves finding us waiting for the fulfillment of what He has promised to us with hope. Sometimes the world tells us it is hopeless but be one who chooses hope. It will change your mood and attitude and aid in both mental and physical well being. I am hopeful that 2017 will be the year that changes everything for you and for me.