Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.
–Proverbs 13:12 NET
Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,
but a sudden good break can turn life around.
–Proverbs 13:12 MSG
What if what you want (desired outcome) never happens? What would you say to someone whose story is never “heard” or they never see justice? What of those longing for a child while doctors work to unravel the infertility questions? For the single parent trying to “make ends meet,” raise their kids, have a life, and stay engaged, what can be said to that person? Then there’s the pastor who pours themself into sermon prep, faithfully visits their flock, and spends plenty of sleepless nights praying for the people in their care; but there are a few power brokers in leadership or the congregation who have decided this is not the right person for the job.
The desired outcome varies based upon the circumstances. Some want vindication that may never come. The single parent may just want to survive their ordeal and maybe even hope their kids can eventually have a “normal” life. The harassed pastor may simply want some relief from the suspicion and withering gossip in hopes that the congregation can actually grow in grace.
Of course, the desired outcome, if it comes, will ease the tension between the desire and disappointment. But what do we do in the meantime? How can we live with disappointed desire? Sure, misplaced hope is an answer—not a good one, but it’s an easy direction to go. What if we held the tension between desire and disappointment? Can we learn to live in-between for a little while? What would it be like to live with awareness in the gap between what we have and what we want? What might keep us from doing that?
ACTION: If you were willing to live with the tension that comes with wanting, waiting, and wondering, what would that look like on you? How would your family and friends experience you in the waiting? What kind of person do you envision becoming in the waiting?