Is unrelenting disappointment leaving you heartsick? Are you feeling hopeless in your situation?
Constant disappointment can leave us feeling weary and defeated. When we are weary from disappointment, we can get caught in a negative circle and not see any way out. And we have all been there.
Proverbs 13:12 is a Scripture that is probably familiar to you. I grew up with the King James Version which says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
Here is the first half of the verse in some other translations.
“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick” (MSG). Boy, that’s true, isn’t it?
How about, “When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed” (GNT).
And this one, “Hope which is delayed tormenteth the soul” (WYC).
We can get to a place where we have absolutely no hope in the situation in which we find ourselves. We can truly feel tormented because we can’t see any light in our place of darkness. Or if we can, it’s the “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s probably a train” kind of thing. Only we aren’t joking, because it really feels that way.
The second part of Proverbs 13:12 states, “When the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Several translation say, “But a fulfilled longing is a tree of life”. At least one version adds, “There is life and joy” (TLB).
Obviously, when we find ourselves in a very dark situation and we can’t see our way out, we need hope.
I address this in When Tragedy Strikes. This book was written after emerging from the darkness of the death of my daughter. When you bury your child, you can’t find your way out of that dark pit with a false hope, or a “wishful thinking” kind of hope. You have to have the real thing.
Waiting, Trusting, Hoping
I read somewhere that waiting, trusting, and hoping are like three strands of a rope. Trust is the middle strand, and hope and waiting are the two strands that wrap around it. This is a good description of how I have gotten to the place I have, with the grace of God.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to…grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NIV).
When I talk about hope I am not talking about wishful thinking. I am talking about something we know is coming that we anticipate. A great example is a little girl who hopes she will get married someday. That is the wishful thinking kind of hope. But one day a young man comes into her life, they fall deeply in love, and he gets down on one knee with a question and a ring. Her getting married is no longer wishful thinking. It is something she actually starts planning for with anticipation, knowing it is coming.
That is the kind of hope God talks about and gives us in the Bible. Wishful thinking won’t get you out of your black hole of grief, but hope will. True hope. The anticipation of knowing that God will pull you out and put you on a path of life that leads you to fullness and satisfaction in walking out the destiny and purpose He still has for you. Death and life…the two can truly merge together as we get past our own death caused by the loss of our child. In God’s kingdom, life always comes from death. Allow God to plant His seed of hope right in the middle of your pain, and watch it grow into life.
Facing your pain is hard to do—it’s never easy to face those things that make us feel so alone and broken. But every time we do, we grow a bit stronger, and we take one more step in the direction of healing.
No matter how broken you are today, tomorrow promises new hope.
Waiting, trusting, and hoping. We can actually make a decision for each of these.
- We can choose to wait and allow God to do the work behind the scenes, or we can make a choice to be impatient and try to help God out by doing things our own way. This is not recommended, as it usually makes a mess of things. (Such as when Sarah tried doing things her own way in making sure Abraham had a son, by giving him her handmaid to sleep with.)
- We can make a choice to trust God, even when we can’t see the outcome. It is better than choosing fear, when we can’t see the outcome.
- We can choose to not give up. That is hope. And you can always lean on or borrow someone else’s hope for you, until your own hope returns.
These three, woven together, shine a light to get you back on the path of living again. Not just surviving, but thriving.
Remember, no matter how broken or hopeless you feel, tomorrow always promises new hope. Keep moving into a new tomorrow, until your tree of life is blooming once again.
Laura Diehl is an award-winning author, national speaker and singer. She and her husband, Dave, are the founders of Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). Dave and Laura travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests.
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GPS Hope exists to walk with grieving parents through the suffocating darkness of child-loss to a place of hope, light and purpose.
We also support families, friends and coworkers who want to know how to support these parents both short and long-term.
- If you are not a bereaved parent but want to support those who are, or want to follow us as we give hope to these precious parents, please connect with us at Friends of GPS Hope on Facebook.
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