Hope and Fear

Have you ever been to the place where hope and fear are wrestling for control of your emotions? I’ve been living at that intersection for a while now.

I’ve been waiting on the opportunity to begin working at a job that has more meaning for me than the corporate job I’ve been at for a number of years. “Waiting” may not be the best word here. “Frantically trying to find something else but not being able to force anything to happen” would probably be better.

Yesterday, I was at a really low point. I felt like everything within me was driving over the cliff of depression and anger and frustration.

Somebody on my twitter feed put up a quote by a character on The Wire that said: ”A life, Jimmy. You know what that is? It’s the [stuff] that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come.”

I felt like my life was a prison sentence to mundane mediocrity. I wanted somebody to blame for the fact that my life isn’t the fairy tale that I’d like it to be, and God is an easy punching bag.

He’s all powerful, so anything that goes wrong is his fault! As these thoughts kept filling my head, I realized how childish I was being. I also recognized the voice of the enemy, telling me to ‘Curse God and die’.

I apologized to God for being immature and I worshiped him. I thanked him. I asked for help and mercy.

On the way home, a thought came to me. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” I knew it was scripture, so I looked it up. It’s Proverbs 13:12.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Eugene Peterson, in The Message puts it like this:

“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.”

I had no idea why the Holy Spirit was telling me this. I have been living in a place of unrelenting disappointment for many months. I knew I was heart sick. For God to confirm, ‘look, I know that being in a depressing rut for a long time will really hurt you’ didn’t make me feel any better.

Heck, I had been chastising myself for wanting something better. “God has me here, so I need to learn to be okay with it. I need to learn how to be content in the midst of frustration” was my attitude. But the Bible said something completely different. Constant frustration will make your heart sick. You need fulfilled dreams to be happy. This sounds more like something Barbie would say in one of my daughters cartoons than what we expect from the Bible.

Yet here was the Holy Spirit, bringing this very thing to mind.

Later that evening, I got some really good news. Not good enough to let me quit my job immediately, but good news. A door opening really wide.

I have felt like a plant that was in a too small pot and not getting any water or sunlight, and this news felt like water and sunlight. I believe the day is coming soon when I’ll be moved to a bigger pot so I can begin to grow into the tree God wants me to be.

I’m deeply grateful to serve a God who cares about me, even though he doesn’t owe me anything.  A God who knows how much we need hope, and showed up yesterday after my time of testing to give me what I haven’t earned.