Hope Deferred

Beth finished sharing with the ladies gathered at Bible Study about her father’s coming to salvation in Jesus shortly before he passed from this earth. It was a touching story for all of us to hear, but I wasn’t prepared for the full impact that hit me.

I sobbed. In the midst of my ugly cry, I approached Beth and told her how badly I desired the same for my family. There was so much dysfunction operating, and it hurt my heart to see years pass without any signs of much needed restoration. I had almost given up on my loved ones ever escaping their ruts of distrust, bitterness and anger.

But Beth spoke. If salvation came to her house, it could come to mine. God moved my heart to continue to pray and believe for the healing that would bring family back together and bring glory to Him. Slowly, over the course of a few more years, the healing came. Tripping over pride the whole way, we eventually came to a place of reconciliation, and before our parents breathed their last breaths on this side of eternity, there was love, nearness of family, and salvation. Yes, above all else, there is the promise of a future reunion. An eternal reunion with the Father in heaven and with all His children awaits us who have surrendered our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

My family is united in Christ and whole. All praise, honor and glory goes to God alone!

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

I share this account to encourage you, because I’m sure that you also know the call to perseverance. You understand a wait filled with expectation. Perhaps you relate to my wait that turned sour due to lost hope. I’m here today to remind you: Don’t give up. God is able, and He won’t fail. In fact, God’s fail record is ZERO, and that is not about to change because of your circumstances. He won’t fail you, because it is impossible for Him to fail. The only behavior even remotely related to failure would be on your end- when you fail to hold fast with resolute faith.

At the end of 2014, I saw a vision of the Lord preparing me for many open doors that would suddenly present themselves. It birthed an excitement in me, and now, fifteen months into the season of suddenly, I’m realizing many longings fulfilled. All I can say is the tenderness of God’s love is so real! Without any true effort of my own, He dug out from the depths of my heart things of long ago and said, “Now is the time.” Just like that, I’m weekly volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center that brings hope to women who feel abortion is the only way to get relief from the chaos surrounding an unplanned pregnancy. Fifteen years ago, I shared publicly that I want to one day be a part of bringing true hope in Christ to women.

Jesus also suddenly opened the door for me to minister regularly to marriages in crisis. A hotline may seem impersonal, but its effectiveness is apparent! Callers are comfortable to be honest about themselves and their situation. I get to share the truth of God’s Word with them, to encourage them and to pray with them. I know this- the Holy Spirit moves mightily upon the hearts of those men and women. Only heaven will tell the many turn-arounds that happened in homes because a spouse made a call.

Talk about a hope deferred and God’s suddenly making it real! I’m going to Israel! How many years have I desired to walk that middle eastern soil? Fifteen? Twenty? I had almost given up, but a contest that took me less than three minutes to enter presented a hope that there may be a way… A few days later, I get the email stating, “Renee, you’re a winner!”

More recently, I discovered that we are selling our house and building a new home. Normally, this takes a lot of work and a lot of planning. Not this time. It’s almost like I woke up one day to the reality presenting itself. We have a piece of land to buy; we have a buyer for our home; we have peace and unity about the move and the new build. Never have I encountered a scenario involving a new build like this. Honestly, I didn’t even know I was moving!

IMG_2826Something beautiful happened in my heart yesterday when I drove past the future build site and snapped this pic of the snowfall. The Father in heaven reminded me of my dream to live on a wooded lot. You see, in 2000 we built a new home on a densely wooded acre of land. I was so excited about the prospect of my kids growing up and playing in the woods like I did when I was a child. But God shut the door on that move. It was hard, but it was certain. His best for us was in another location. We obeyed and discovered God’s blessing for us. He is always promoting us in His goodness, of this we are certain.

But here I was taking the picture, and I hear Him say, “Remember? This was your hope sixteen years ago. It’s happening now.”

My friend, I deeply hope I’m conveying to you God’s heart. He knows your desires. He hears your prayers. He is working, and timing is His expertise. May I encourage you in the area of those things treasured in your heart? Just because they may be hidden doesn’t mean they lack value. No, the very dreams that are precious to you are precious to God. I’m standing today as a tree of life declaring the goodness of my Faithful Father in heaven, and I hope you believe He delights in causing you to delight yourself in Him.

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