Maybe this won’t resonate with everyone, but have you ever watched someone else walking in the same dreams you’ve had for your life? Perhaps it’s a dream or prayer you’ve long held on to, and over time, it begins to feel more and more impossible and out of reach. But as you look around, it feels like everywhere you look, someone else is announcing their happy news of the very thing you’ve so deeply desired to see in your own life.
Maybe your dream is to be married, but with each passing year (and each wedding you attend for a friend), that hope feels like it’s dwindling. Perhaps you have a career goal that you’re never quite able to reach, but you watch friends or colleagues advancing in their field, starting new ventures, or finding success in a way that seems effortless. Maybe your prayer is to see your children and family growing in the ways of God, flourishing in every way, but heartbreak and hard times have left them in a tough place, and your prayer before the Lord is for Him to restore them and set them on solid footing once again. Or, maybe it’s the longing for children of your own, just as it was the prayer and desire of Rachel (Genesis 29:31—30:24).
Rachel watched her sister, Leah, walk in the dream Rachel had for her own life. And while Leah’s story was far from easy, from Rachel’s vantage point, it looked like it was effortless for Leah. Child after child, year after year.
Often, that’s how it can feel to us. When it seems like everyone around us is experiencing an abundance in the very area we have long prayed and asked God for, it can be painful to watch.
Even if we are trusting the Lord with the hope of our heart, it still can make our hearts ache and yearn to see a breakthrough of our own.
Maybe you’ve heard the proverb that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Do you know what else it can make us? Panicky! Desperate. Irrational. Anxious. Discouraged.
Hope deferred can leave us feeling more and more discouraged and anxious over whether we’ll ever see a dream come to pass. It can make us do crazy things to try to force something to happen, or contrive or finagle circumstances, timing, or whatever else we can think of to force a result that, in the end, doesn’t fully satisfy like we thought it would.
Sweet friend, I wish there was an easy answer, an exact formula or date on the calendar we could point to and know the way and day God will fulfill our heart’s dream and prayer in the way we’ve asked.
But one thing I know about God, He hears our cries and sees our pain, and knows the desire of our hearts. And hear this: whether we go about it wrong to begin with, or we’ve been without blame in the process all along, God holds nothing against us. He does not withhold from us as a method to punish us or string us along. He sees the pain of disappointment. He sees the ways we fight to stay tender and pure of heart to rejoice in the success and answered prayers of others, even while our own heart has been left with hope deferred.
One of the best things we can do is to continue to trust Him with those dreams and prayers of our hearts. We can take heart in knowing that just as He remembered Rachel, He takes note of us. He sees us. He has not forgotten us. Nothing is left unseen by God. And He has a beautiful and perfect way to enable us to walk in the fullness of His perfect plan for our lives in such a way that, even if we think we could write the perfect storyline for how it should unfold, we couldn’t write it as well as He can.
One day, in His perfect, holy, and loving way, you will see the ways He took note of you in this season of waiting and believing and praying, and you’ll be able to say, just as Rachel did, “God heard my cry. And He took away my shame.”
Today, in the places where it feels like your hope is deferred, and your dream is being lived out by everyone but you, I hope you’ll remember this:
In the hidden places, God sees you.
In the disappointed places, God wants to minister hope and kindness and truth to your heart.
In the lonely places, He longs to draw you close.
In the places that seem filled with questions and uncertainty, He sees you and He will guide you and show you what to do.
In the forgotten places when you feel left behind and dismissed, He sees you and says, “You are not forgotten, and I have not forgotten my promise to you.”
In the places you feel shame, He says, “I will be the glory and lifter of your head. I will take away your reproach.”
In the waiting places, He sees you and is doing a work in you, working through situations for your benefit and protection, preparing and stretching you for even greater purposes to come.
In the places you feel the weakest, He sees you and is ready to infuse you with His strength and power.
Keep your hope and trust in Him. He hears your cry and sees the hope of your heart. He takes note of you, and He has a good hope and future for your life. Take heart.
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