When Hope is Deferred
"So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, 'Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!'" (Job 2:7-9).
I walked into the room and my friend burst out crying. "I'm so discouraged! I don't know what else to do. Will I ever get better!?" After three years of fighting a medical condition the doctor just told her no progress had been made in the last six months of treatments. Alternative treatment was needed that might have more severe side effects.
Great men of God with healing ministries had prayed for her. A string of doctors had failed to yield any positive results. When hope is deferred, the psalmist says, the heart becomes sick. During these seasons, we can only do one thing. We must hang onto whatever faith we have to get through each day and entrust our lives to Him. "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Hab 3:17-18).
When faith doesn't see results it challenges what we believe. We must pray as Job prayed: "Teach me what I cannot see" (Job 34:32). God says there is a purpose in everything we go through. Later that day another friend who once had the same issues, but was now better, had a word of encouragement. "God is going to reveal things to you through this season of adversity that you would never receive had you not gone through this. This is part of your calling even though Satan is the instrument. God is always bigger than Satan's afflictions."
Our greatest tests come when we cannot see positive results from our faith and obedience. In such cases we must die to our expectations and entrust them to our Lord.
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