>Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

What have you ever deferred? It’s not a word that we use much. Many people defer their college loan payments until after they finish graduate school and/or find a job. That’s a good thing to defer. No payments. No interest. Makes you wonder why anyone would stop taking classes. Those loans could just be deferred into oblivion.

Hope is to the heart what oxygen is to the bloodstream. It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t tell us that we need to give a reason for our faith, rather we are instructed to give a reason for our hope: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

Our hope is not merely in hope. Otherwise, we could probably buy “hope on a rope” from Christian television. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). Why do we have hope?

This is not just a hope that things will get better. Job learned these things the hard way: “Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness” (Job 30:26). The Bible promises that “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame” (Psalm 25:3).

The Bible shows us a process for hope: “We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5). While it would seem easier to just buy a lottery ticket, the odds are better with the process.

Often we become discouraged because we hope for the wrong things. “I hope my kids will behave everyday, all day, for the rest of their childhood.” “I hope that my marriage, my job, my life would become problem-free.” “I hope that I can survive this day.” Hope anchored to circumstances is bound to drag us down. Hope anchored to God will lift us up despite our circumstances.

Rick Warren says, “You can live a week without food. You can live a few days without water. You can live a few minutes without oxygen. But, you can’t live a second without hope.”

How’s your hope level today? If it’s low, then surf over to Biblegateway.com and search the word “hope.” You won’t be disappointed.

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