One of my favorite guilty pleasures is scrolling through Travelzoo’s Top Twenty list each week. Beautiful destinations around the world in high resolution are underscored by unbelievable prices. Were it not for my fulltime job, I could be jet setting in mid-September. Each time I forward a much anticipated travel destination to my husband I include as the subject,” when we retire”.
The hope of things that may or may not happen seem like more guilt than pleasure, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about visiting Lisbon, Alaska and Puerto Rico. Proverbs 13:12 says Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Hope deferred. Hope that is put off for a long time or dragging out.
If I had the chance to book a Travelzoo vacation today, I would. But commitments at work and at home defer the hope of my dream vacation. Further, the feeling that COVID will forever interfere with my travel plans puts that hope off even further. The fact that I love travel so much and have already had a trip to Italy and New York cancelled, makes me want to hop on a plane even more.
The hope of traveling seems like it will continue to be delayed indefinitely at this point. Waiting for something for so long can actually turn desire and expectation into depression, anxiety and hopelessness. The latter part of the verse is but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. When we experience the things we desire, pray for and hope for then we are renewed and encouraged.
Often times our desires are not fulfilled right away. There is a waiting period where we are in danger of having a sick heart or a crushed spirit. It is at that point we are most vulnerable to throwing in the towel and giving up entirely. I read a post today that said, “I give up. I am through trying”. This is a heart whose desire was not met in the time she hoped and she grew so impatient and discontented that giving up was a more desirable outcome.
Don’t give up. I think the word from the passage in Proverbs we need to key in on is longing. I like to call it a holy expectation; the knowing that it will come in the right time. There are many things I want, but if I was given them now, I would certainly fail or squander it away. God is building my character and putting my feet to the fire to test my readiness.
When I am put to the test, that longing in me is stirred up and I can almost taste it. I have asked God to give me a full-time ministry when I retire. I have no idea what that will look like or when it will come, but I know it will. But first, God needs to know he can trust me to be faithful and obedient in the building stages before he gives me a full-time ministry.
I long for it with a holy expectation and when the time is right, it will happen. How can I be so sure? Because when we ask God for things that align with His will out of pure motives, then we can be certain He wants them for us even more than we want them for ourselves. Longing for those things is waiting expectantly and having faith even when it looks contrary to the promise. Don’t just wait for what you ask God for, long for it, because a longing fulfilled is a tree of life!