Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
I have been wearing a silver bracelet on my wrist for the last few years. It used to have a charm that had "hope" on one side and "joy" on the other. That charm broke of long ago, but I keep wearing it with just the little ring that used to hold the charm as a reminder to keep looking for hope and joy.
The other night as I was pondering and praying about my daughter’s profession of faith, I realized that I was feeling something. After some focused effort, even looking up its definition, I recognized that I was feeling joy! I was delighted by God's gift of faith in my daughter. After I recounted that to my counselor and told her about the bracelet, I was inspired to look on the internet to see if I could find charms of hope and joy to replace the lost one. I've casually looked over the years in stores, but with no luck. Last night I found some inexpensive ones online, so I ordered them, figuring I would put the "joy" one on and wait with the "hope" one until God showed me the time.
Today I got notice from the charm company that part of the cost had been refunded to my PayPal account and it came with this note:
Message From Seller: CF4-HOPE IS OUT OF STOCK. PLEASE REORDER IN 2 WEEKS. SORRY
Hope is out of stock! I just had to start laughing. I guess I'm not supposed to have hope yet. I wonder what God has for me in the hope department in two weeks! I wanted to send a reply “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” but I didn't.
I shared this with the girls, and they both just howled … “that is really what feels like a lot, isn't it mommy? Hope is just out of stock.”
Good thing we know the true source of hope ... he's given back some joy, now I just need to recognize how he's given the hope!
You are so funny sometimes, Lord!
Maybe it is just to show me how silly I am to continue to look around for hope
when you have placed it within us.
You, oh Lord, are my healer and the lifter of my head.
You have been my shelter, my strong tower, my refuge, my strength and my shield.
You have raised me up on eagle’s wings.
That is hope … it is definitely not out of stock! Amen.
Multiple conversations in the last week have circled back around to statements, questions, comments, or ponderings about hope. That intangible but essential element of life that settles somewhere in that place we call our soul. Without hope, life withers and dies. With hope, amazing and utterly God-sized occurrences invade our world. If you have walked the journey very long with me, you will likely hear my story about hope and joy charms and bracelets that have been bought, lost, found, returned, given, lost, recovered, and the like. When God first lead me to the idea of a tangible reminder to inspire me forward through small, inexpensive charms, the response from the online vendor was “ HOPE is out of stock.” Should I laugh or cry? I laughed, and still do whenever I recall the story.
Over the years my “hope” has tried to go down the drain, be lost, and the like. Over the years I’ve lost and recovered the charms through seemingly miraculous means. I’ve now lost two of those precious bracelets in my home or in my car (and I’m not one who loses things easily, so this is always “not so funny, Lord”). My friend recently created a new one for me (see photo) … and I’ve attached myself to hope more securely through a ring on my finger (though, within a week I did something that tarnished the ring in a hurry … “tarnished hope” is a whole new concept to ponder!).
But my point … Hope is a thing that everyone in the world understands as essential, but we as believers in Jesus are the only ones who can lead others to the true source, the deep soul encouragement, the One who is our hope. Hope doesn’t go out of stock or go down the drain or get lost on a whim. Jesus, our hope, is our firm foundation, our anchor, our buoy, our way through the stuff of this life.
I’m so grateful for the lessons of hope and the nurturing love of my Father as I’ve struggled to hold on to hope.