“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” — Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)
Where is hope today? People with empty faces pass by other empty faces on their way to somewhere they are not. I watch people when I’m out in public. It’s a gift and a curse that comes with being an actor. Actors learn to watch people—how they walk, sit, and run. It’s an important part of learning the actor’s craft and so critical to developing a character. So I look at the posture and faces of those around me.
When I pass a person coming out of the grocery store pushing their basket of supplies, I don’t notice what’s in their basket. I see what speaks from their gait or the emotions showing in their eyes. Recently I watched an elderly woman pushing her basket of groceries to her car. I could tell it hurt her to walk and push the cart. Her steps were labored and her face was telling—loneliness and longing were seemingly partners in a dance of lost dreams. Maybe she had experienced joys in her life, but this day they were not appearing. I prayed for her even though I didn’t know her situation. I felt she needed prayer, so I prayed that if she knew Jesus as her Lord and Savior that he would hold her close and bring comfort to her heart. I also prayed that even if she didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, his love and mercy would wash over her at that moment to move her closer to God and God’s love and hope.
Viktor E. Frankl, a Jewish survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, shared his observations of his fellow prisoners in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. Prisoners were tortured and starved, and many met their deaths by firing squads or in crematoriums. However, he observed that other prisoners seemed to die from a lack of hope. When they no longer saw something to live for in the future, they lost hope and lost their will to live.
The word of God is as true today as it was in the past and will be forever: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Let my heart hope in Jesus, the only hope of life to satisfy our longings.