How To Overcome Hope Deferred (Triumph Through Pain)

How To Overcome Hope Deferred (Triumph Through Pain)

Hope is a mighty word, and you may find that in our current world, finding it is a formidable task.

You may have heard the quote, "Good things come to those who wait." However, as a human being, when you're going through a bout of challenging circumstances, that simple truth may be hard to submit to.

As human beings, we are incredibly diverse in our ways of thinking. Different people may resonate better with contrasting sources of wisdom while all desire the same thing deep down.


One example of a significant source of wisdom for many people is the Bible. It's important to note that the wisdom of the Bible is not exclusively for those who have chosen to be Christians, but that you may incorporate that wisdom into your life to become a better you, no matter your religious choices. 

image of ocean waves and the word hope

What Is The Quote "Hope Deferred Makes The Heart Sick"?

In Proverbs 13:12 as written by King Solomon, it is stated that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." The Bible is wonderfully poetic, and words are often up to individual interpretation. Maybe you have hopes you feel would satisfy you, yet no matter how much you wait and pray, those expectations don't come to fruition. Perhaps you see friends or strangers with things and opportunities you want and you can't help but feel envy toward them and internal shame. Why can't you have what you want? Why do you have to wait longer than others? Will it all be worth the wait?

Hope Deferred Meaning

Having your hopes deferred can make it feel as if the whole world is against you. As humans, we may not know the whole story, but for one reason or another, a divine Creator has decided we must wait for our desired blessings. Fortunately, the scripture states that our prayers will be answered after this persistent span of waiting.

When we're essentially forced into this waiting period, we are likely to have doubts creep in and have our hope for the future waver. We may sit waiting for a sign instead of focusing our attention on the present and enjoying the freedom of mind that comes with trusting God's promise. 

Many other religions have similar teachings about the concept of deferred hope, such as Buddhism's "Desire is the root of all suffering." This quote refers to the idea that a person's desire for certain outcomes is what will ultimately make their hearts sick. Therefore, keeping hope and faith in the divine will allow doors to open for you while having doubts and giving up will achieve the opposite.

"Those That Wait On The Lord Will Renew Their Strength" Water Bottle

Examples of Hope Deferred

There are, unfortunately, many dreams and needs we will not be able to cover in this post as the amount is endless. However, here are some common examples of having your hopes deferred and how you can encourage yourself to let go of immediate expectations and instead focus on staying present.

Needing Physical Healing

Suffering in this life will happen to every soul on Earth. Life is a dance that has high periods and low periods, and it's essential to be able to keep moving forward during the less desirable portions. Peter 5:10 states, "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." This verse of the Bible calls on us to keep faith that the Creator will answer our prayers in time and open doors for us, even though our current situation is affecting us negatively.

Going Through an Infertility Journey

It is not always easy to understand why suffering may be happening because, as people, we have no way of seeing what the future holds. Going through an infertility journey is very personal and can be deeply heartbreaking. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." This verse emphasizes that while going through adversity, it is essential to stay hopeful and trust God will lead you to the right path, even if the right path is not what you understand it to be.

Needing Financial or Material Provision

It's no secret that the world is facing unprecedented times, and many are facing financial hardship. Psalm 37:4, states, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." This verse asserts that even though your deferred hopes may leave you longing to be in a different situation if you trust in God's word and hold out hope, he will lead you to your blessings in time.

Broken Relationships That Seem Unfixable

Going through turbulent times in relationships can make your heart sick. Perhaps the person closest to you has upset you and you feel as if you've misjudged their character. Conversely, you may have hurt a loved one, even if it wasn't necessarily your intention to do so. In Colossians 3:13 it's stated to "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." This verse emphasizes holding out hope just as the Lord would, even though you may have to wait for results.

Being Isolated and Needing Community

In recent years, people all around the Earth have been struggling to cope with major stretches of isolation. Humans are inherently social beings; even the most introverted among us need some source of community. While it may seem too simple of an answer, cultivating hope goes a long way when dealing with loneliness. Joshua 1:9 states, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." This verse affirms that unfulfilled desires, in this case, a sense of community, can cause you to feel disappointed and even fearful for the future. However, you can trust that you're never alone, as God promises to always be with you while you're waiting for your blessings.

How Deferred Hope Can Be A Gift In Your Life

image of flower growing out of a stump

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance...hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Coping With Heartsickness

Sometimes circumstances may feel too horrible to find even the tiniest silver lining. So how can we actively choose peace and intentionality anyways? While this process may be complicated and take time, it is possible. You shouldn't feel the need to rush this task or beat yourself up over it. The intention is the most important step on your road to peace, as it allows you to take control over your own life and personal choices.

Triumph Through Pain

Whether children or adults, all souls will have to face their demons at some point. Effectively conquering these demons is what gives purpose in times of pain. We can't always be in control of our circumstances but we can control our reactions to them. Sometimes all it takes is viewing a situation from a different perspective to heal and triumph despite it.

Deferred But Not Disappointed - Finding the Treasures Where You Are

What is gratitude? Many people conceptualize gratitude as something we humans are either born with or without. However, gratitude is no different than a muscle that you workout in the gym. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word gratitude as "The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness." Your sense of gratitude can be practiced gradually and you may find that your overall happiness is greater once you make it a part of your routine. There are a variety of ways in which you can practice such as journaling and making it a habit each day to visualize a few things you are grateful for.

When you are feeling down, you may find yourself taking your pain out on others; however, this often leads you to feel even more down about yourself. Recent scientific research has found that, as humans, altruism is hardwired into our brains. Helping build up others around us, even though our circumstances aren't ideal, is proven to make us feel better in the long run. Volunteering, donating, and simply helping a friend are all great ways to help both yourself and those around you feel better.

two women supporting each other during a trial

Longing Fulfilled Is A Tree Of Life

There are two ways to go about any given situation: one way of going about things that many people do is to avoid hardships by acting out of impulse or finding a "Band-Aid" solution. While this may seem like a good idea at first, they often discover that this method causes more harm than good in the end. However, another way people may approach a situation is to face the arduous path head-on and hold out hope in a divine Creator, as they trust they will adequately reward them in the end.

These are the lessons you discover through trial and error. Practicing delayed gratification is found to have many benefits and can lead you to be successful in the long term. Find joy in the fact that your hardships will lead to blessings in the end, even if that may be difficult to see in the time being.

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