“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
-Proverbs 13:12, ESV
Just the other day, I did something that I was not expecting to do: I declined an invitation to preach in view of a call to be the senior pastor at a small church in another state. Why was I not expecting to do this? Because I feel a strong sense of calling to the pastorate and this is the first church that has considered me for a pastoral position. And I really wanted to make it work. Now, why didn’t I go? No peace. None at all. I was having no peace about it and I was full of anxiety and stress. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a level of anxiousness that goes with most anything new, whether it be a job, a child, or anything. However, the anxiety I was feeling was almost to the point of an attack. And thus, it because overly stressful. There are many other reasons that go with the totality of circumstances as to why I did not go to this church that I am not going to discuss here, needless to say when all was said and done, there was no real peace about it.
Now, to the Scripture that is above, Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the hearth sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” My hope, my desire is to pastor a local church somewhere, at some point, whether it be as an associate pastor or senior pastor, I don’t know. But, that is my desire, my “hope deferred” if you will. If you look at the Hebrew of the words for “hope” and “deferred,” you see two starkly contrasting words. The word “hope” is “tohelet” (I hope I don’t offend some language scholar out there, I’m still figuring out how to do all the accents and other markings). And it means an expectation, a hope, and in this sense, of future events. It is my hope and expectation that, in the future, I will be, Lord willing, shepherding a flock of Jesus’ people. The word for “deferred” is “msk” which means to seize, to carry off. And in this case, I carried myself off.
However, my ultimate desire, one that is more important than that to become a pastor, my ultimate desire is to be obedient to God’s Will and His Spirit’s leading on my life. So, my “desire fulfilled” is that I strongly believe that I am being 100% obedient to God’s will in my life and for that of my family in the decision that I made. The Hebrew for “a desire” is “taawa” (once again, Hebrew scholars, don’t hate me. Leave a comment and help me learn!). This word means a longing, wish, yearning; a craving even. I, as a follower of Christ, need to be craving God’s will for my life.
So, as I am here, sitting in my nearly empty bedroom as we are getting ready to move, having turned down what I think would have been a sure bet at a bi-vocational pastorate position in a small Southern Baptist Church. And now, I am still relying on God, following His will for my life, where ever that may lead. Is it easy? No. Is it rewarding? Yes. God is providing and His provision is more than we need, even when we don’t think it is.