Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of lifeProverbs 13:12
Can you believe we’re in the year 2022! That came around quickly, didn’t it?! Naturally around January, being the start of the year, there is a lot of conversation about “New Year’s Resolution”, “Goal-setting” and so on…you may have already set yours! I remember in the year 2020, it was all about “2020 vision”. However let me ask you something, what happens when that goal you set/or the vision you wrote down doesn’t come to pass in the time you expected or in the way you wanted it to? Or you were disappointed with a particular outcome from the previous year. How do we muster the courage to hope again? Hopefully, by the end of the article, we’ll be closer to the answer.
Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tabletsHabakuk 2:2
I can say with confidence that we have ALL been there, you’ve entered the new year and you’re eager to set goals and New Year’s resolutions e.g., healthier diet, start the gym, do better at uni/work, pray more, cut off that relationship, the list goes on. Yet whilst we may start strong at the beginning our motivation and focus may wane through the year, it doesn’t always endure. Or we are hoping and praying for something such as a financial increase, healing, a change in location, a spouse, that new job etc. We hope and hope, yet we don’t see a shift. We don’t see a change in circumstances. Is it all in vain? In our hope and anticipation about what is to come, we shouldn’t neglect the gifts of the present nor should we desire the thing we are “hoping for” more than the God who we want to grant it. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). In some Bible translations of this verse, it says “ask and keep on asking”, the underlying theme of persistence is present but also our heart posture is important during the waiting period, we must ask/seek/knock with expectation.
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Let go of your timeline…
Friends your feelings of frustration and restlessness are natural but “let patience have its perfect work” James 1:4-8, exercise patience during these times. Adopt a farmer’s mindset, we plant seeds (goals/resolutions), we water it and nurture the soil then wait for the harvest (God’s response). In some cases, we sow and reap in the same year (Genesis 26:12), whilst sometimes it takes longer to see the harvest. Either way, we must trust that God’s word doesn’t return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11), if God’s not done working then we should not be done waiting! So let us pray for grace to wait well. Reignite the flame of hope once more and fan the flame by speaking God’s Word into that vision/new habit/goal. Open your heart and mind to His will but continue to do your part, whilst leaving space for God to do what only He can do in your life.
He makes all things beautiful in His timeEcclesiastes 3:11
Ideas for when your hope is waning
- Pray for renewed hope/vision
- Revisit the journal you wrote your idea down or write down your heart’s desire in a journal
- Create a Vision board (without putting a year/date) and stick it on your wall/phone/laptop screensaver
- Talk to your accountability partners who started the journey of hope with you
Waiting is not easy. Recovering from setbacks and disappointments is not easy. Yet we have been given a resilient spirit and we serve a God who we can confidently put our hope in. Always remember that “anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame” Romans 10:11. This is not a “nice phrase” but an anchor to stabilise us in times of fear/anxiety/discouragement.