Proverbs 13:12 — Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (NIV).
This message has been burning in my heart, and if you find yourself lacking intimacy with God, this verse may be the key to your breakthrough. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. What a sad truth. To better understand the meaning of this statement, let’s look at another version of this verse: Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick (MSG). Disappointment comes in a variety of sorts, but the person who is continually disappointed winds up brokenhearted.
The first area I want to deal with is disappointment in relationships. There are countless people who have experienced broken relationship after broken relationship. As a result, they’ve closed themselves off to the idea of intimacy with anyone. They will allow a person to come “only so close” before they withdraw.
Many people have been cheated on, stabbed in the back, or abused by those they have been in relationship with. Children are mistreated by their parents, spouses are unfaithful, best friends gossip and slander one another, pastors betray their flocks, and the list goes on. When not dealt with, these types of experiences will be carried over into every new relationship.
Those who have deferred hope in relationships eventually wind up harboring unforgiveness toward those who have wronged them. They become bitterly offended and filter all of their relationships through that offense. This truth tragically includes their relationship with God.
Perhaps you find yourself separated from God today. Could it be that you have unforgiveness toward someone? Unforgiveness puts a wedge between you and Him. You may be justified in your offense, but you will not experience intimacy in any relationship until you deal with unforgiveness.
Matthew 6:15 — “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (NIV).
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