June 1, 2014
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life (v.12).
READ: Proverbs 13:12-19
As any couple trying to have a child knows, every 28 days you’re looking for signs of success. For many couples, this expectation is met with disappointment for a few months until conception occurs. But for others, this monthly cycle of raised and dashed hopes can last for years. Proverbs 13:12 describes such an experience well: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
That was our experience. After a decade spent trying without success, my wife Merryn and I brought our dream of having a family to an end. By that stage, Merryn’s heart was sick—her life marked by tears and her relationship with God in tatters.
Some weeks before that final decision, Merryn and I sat by Sydney Harbour talking about the future. “What would be a nice consolation prize for you,” I asked her, “if we don’t have a child?”
“I’d like to start again,” she said. “Overseas.” “Overseas?”
“If we don’t have a baby,” she said, “could we move to Europe?”
Merryn’s dream of becoming a mother had been denied, but here was a dream that could be fulfilled. The dream would be costly—bringing an abrupt interruption to my career—but as Proverbs 13 continues, “a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (v.12). My wife needed that new life.
We didn’t know it then, but just 4 months later Merryn and I would be strapping ourselves into a plane, taxiing down a runway and flying to England, where Merryn would start a dream job at Oxford University. No job can replace a child, but a secondary dream fulfilled brought new life and has helped her heal.
Proverbs 13:12 is simple, everyday wisdom. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Whose dream can you help make a reality? —Sheridan Voysey
Daniel 5:1-30 ‹365-day plan
Read Galatians 6:2 and consider what it says about extending hope and life to others.
Do you know someone who has a broken heart? In what way could you help that person attain a ‘consolation prize’?