Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
A desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. It is synonymous with hoping, longing or craving to have a need fulfilled. Thus, our desires are fueled by the things that are lacking in our lives, ranging from basic survival needs to social and self-actualization needs, etc. When a desire is unmet, it creates a hole in us which we strive to fill; the more it delays, the more we long for it, and sometimes become disheartened from the long wait as alluded to in our text.
As long as we live, we will have desires and some of them may come later than expected. So, to avoid being disheartened, let’s consider some biblical characters that waited long before their desires came; and see what lessons we can glean from their lives.
ZACHARIAS & ELIZABETH – Luke 1:5-25, 57-58 & 7:28
There is no reference of how long Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth waited to have a child but we can assume that it was a very long time because by the time the angel of God prophesied the birth of their son, they were both well advanced in age. Their desire to have a child was delayed for long, but, that didn’t stop them from being blameless before God, serving Him with all fervency. When their desire came in the person of John the Baptist, the years of delay was swallowed up in victory. It is recorded that John the Baptist is the greatest prophet in the Old Testament; what an honor!
HANNAH – I Samuel 1:1-20
The children Hannah’s husband had from his other wife were proof of Hannah’s barrenness. Seeing those children daily would have definitely added to the frustration of the delay. However, when the family went on their yearly trip to worship God at Shiloh, she also went along; she didn’t forsake God because of her situation, rather, she cried to Him in hope. When her desire came as Samuel the prophet, things turned around for her good. Samuel became a renowned prophet in Israel, and none of his words ever fell to the ground (I Samuel 3:19).
JOSEPH – Genesis 37, 39, 40, & 41
Imagine having a dream to be great and ending up as a slave and then unjustly imprisoned. That was Joseph’s story. God put a dream in his heart for greatness when he was seventeen, but that dream never came to fruition till he was thirty. Even as a slave, he chose not to compromise his godly principles; and as a prisoner, he was outstanding in character. When his desire came, it came with so much fruitfulness which made him completely forget the thirteen years of hoping without results. Pharaoh said of him, “…without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all of Egypt.”
A common trait we notice with these characters is that, despite their unmet desires and their long-deferred hope, they never forsook God. They delighted in the Lord and in the end, their desires were granted. That is a lesson to remember. Keep delighting in the Lord regardless of your inconveniences; when your desire comes, it will be well worth it because God is impartial.
I delight also in the Lord in all I do; choosing His way above any other, and I declare He shall give me the desires of my heart in Jesus’ name.