Heart-Sick, Yet Hopeful (Prov 13:12)
by Jillian L. Ross
Since last summer, I had been anticipating a turn of events that would save me time and give me money. I had been asked to apply for the opportunity, had confirmation that I was “a shoe in,” and even as of this month learned plans were in place. I was excited. Then, the full force of COVID-19 struck and with it vanished my hope for more time. Time, for me is among the most precious commodities out there; I simply don’t have much of it. I know I’m not alone on “missing out” with COVID-19. Most—if not all of us—can relate. It just takes different forms like a wedding ceremony drastically reduced in size, a retirement delayed, a vacation canceled, or a job dissolved, a major purchase deferred. Such disappointments can weigh on our hearts.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (NASB). As I first heard the news of my “loss,” God immediately put another Scripture into my mind. “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1a; NASB). This is an unusual yet apt verse. It testifies to the humility of James the half-brother of Jesus because he defined his role, not with the prestigious titles of “the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ” (cf. 1 Cor 15:7; Acts 1:14) and “the senior-pastor of the Church in Jerusalem” (cf. Act 12:17; 15:13), but with the lowliest title “bond-servant,” or slave. James 1:1 reminds me what my chief desire should: being as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, obedient to His will and content with His ways in my life. This is hard pill to swallow, and undoubtedly many of us could “Zoom” over coffee for hours sharing stories of heart-ache in COVID. But as we toil through life, let us seek to reorient our thinking so that our conformity to Christ might be our deeper desire and our tree of life in the midst of a “groaning creation” (Rom 8:22).