January 16, 2013

Hope Deferred

Why does the human heart have longings? Why do we have goals, dreams, expectations?
Why is the ''heart sick'' when those needs are not met?

Proverbs 13:12 says that ''hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.'' I am assuming this verse is referring to good, or healthy longings.

While good, healthy, wise longings are a ''tree of life'' when they are fulfilled, bad or unhealthy desires can become a great pain when they are fulfilled. Some things just keep asking more and more of you every time.

Some, for example, will only be ''happy and satisfied'' if they succeed in being the best at everything. But the satisfaction that comes from, say, winning a competition or getting the best mark on an exam is very short-lived. Pretty soon there are new competitions, new classes, new exams, new jobs, and the previous success seems now all forgotten: you have to start again from scratch.

A good longing, when fulfilled, is a tree of life. Trees usually live and last a long time. They don't vanish overnight. Many trees were there before we were born, and will still be there after we die.
Trees are not still. They are strongly rooted, and grow stronger and stronger every day. They are not barren: they produce flowers, fruit and seed. From a tree's seed can spring another tree.

[Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed (Proverbs 3:18)

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