Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Prov. 13:12)

If you are familiar with the Bible, you probably know Jacob’s story. What happens to him in Genesis 29 is a classic case of the biter bit, the trickster tricked, the con man conned. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for Jacob, considering what he did to his own brother Esau. But neither do we admire Laban’s duplicity in getting a husband for both of his daughters in one slick move, plus 14 years of free service from Jacob—who, despite his character defects, turns out to be a gifted herdsman.

But there’s a beautiful element in this story: “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her” (v. 20). It’s true that waiting a long time for something we ardently desire can make us heartsick, and eventually we may lose hope. But Jacob’s hope was reinforced every day by the sight of his beloved Rachel, which meant that for him the years flew by with scarcely a notice. And his desire fulfilled was indeed a tree of life, which eventually flowered into all the people of Israel.

As I approach old age I am deeply grateful that so many of my earthly hopes—for marriage, family, friendships, home, career—have been richly fulfilled. I am also increasingly aware that none of these things is forever. I need a hope in something, or Someone, that lasts. Thank God for our “blessed hope” (see Titus 2:13). —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks for Jesus, whose cross is the ultimate “tree of life.”

About the Author

david bast
Rev. David Bast

Rev. Dave Bast retired as the President and Broadcast Minister of Words of Hope in January 2017, after 23 years with the ministry. Prior to his ministry and work at Words of Hope, Dave served as a pastor for 18 years in congregations in the Reformed Church in America. He is the author of several devotional books. A graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, he has also studied at both the Fuller and Calvin seminaries. Dave and his wife, Betty Jo, have four children and four grandchildren. Dave enjoys reading, growing tomatoes, and avidly follows the Detroit Tigers.