How To Overcome Deferred Hope, For Good.

struggle to strength Nov 17, 2021

Ever had something you’ve been waiting for God to do, and you wait and wait, and wait. It could be provision, open doors, healing in your body, a loved one to come back to Jesus. It could be finding God’s plan for you or walking out the purposes you were created for. It could be a prophetic word you’ve received about your life.

You hold on to it; you stand on it, and for a while, you’re good.

Then, you wait and wait and wait.

You look at your circumstances, and nothing is changing. You look at your watch, and time is running out. You wonder if God will EVER show up. You feel stuck in that place called “the same.” The purposes and plans for you seem forgotten. Your promises seem delayed - indefinitely.

And you’re not good anymore.

You begin to waver. Doubt creeps in. Discouragement comes. And your current reality causes you to be cynical and slip into unbelief.

Has this happened to you, or is it just me?

When those expectations we’ve been holding on to get dashed, our hope gets deferred, doesn’t it?


What is Deferred Hope?

We find deferred hope mentioned in Proverbs 13:12. 

  • The Passion Translation defines deferred hope as the dream that seems to drag on and on, the delay that can be depressing.
  • The New King James says hope deferred makes the heartsick.

A further study in Strong’s Concordance defines deferred as:

  • drawn-out,
  • extended,
  • prolonged,
  • scattered,
  • to stretch out,
  • to delay (or are you ready for this one),
  • shriveled up fruit.

I’m like YES, Lord. Deferred hope is all those things. And it stinks.


A Deeper Look

As I sat asking God about this deferred hope and how we get out of it, I heard him say, “ZOOM OUT.”

I was like, WHAT?

So he repeated, “ZOOM OUT.”

“What does that mean, Lord, Zoom out”?

Then I saw what He meant. Proverbs 13:12, “Hope Deferred makes the heart sick,” is (obviously) in chapter 13 of Proverbs. So ‘Zoom Out’ was God inviting me to look at the entire chapter.

Proverbs 13 shows us the difference between two ways of living:

  • Living with righteousness and wisdom, or
  • Living without wisdom (wicked).

The revelation God showed me was how “hope deferred that makes the heart sick” is the WICKED side. It’s the LIE.

But the second half of this verse shows us the TRUTH, the WISDOM, and the RIGHTEOUS way of LIVING.


The rest of Proverbs 13:12 says:

  • The Passion Translation: “when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.”
  • The New King James says, “when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

When we reject the LIE and live with WISDOM instead, THEN we know that our desire (when it comes) will satisfy our souls.


God was showing me that we get to choose. We choose to have wisdom or not.

The choice of Wisdom is to let the hope or expectancy of a promise be life-giving to us. BUT if the waiting tips into “heart sickness,” we’re without wisdom and believing a LIE.

This revelation brought me such freedom, and I hope it has you too. So now what?


How Do We Get Our Hope Back?

  1. Recognize the Voice of Hope Deferred. When we begin hearing thoughts or having feelings that project hope deferred, we need to recognize the voice speaking to us.

    And it is NOT OURS. The voice is coming from the enemy, and he is a liar.

    In John 10:10, Jesus calls him the “thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy.”

    This thief wants to steal your promises. He wants to destroy your destiny. And he does it by trying to KILL your hope.

    When you recognize you’re slipping into hope deferred, spot the LIAR, he’s there somewhere.

  2. Replace the Lie With Truth. Here are some verses to use to defend your hope against the destroyer.
    • God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good and fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19.
    • Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” Romans 3:4.
    • Or I love the way the Message puts it, “God keeps his word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. ... God’s words stand fast and true; … lies don’t even make a dent in His truth” Romans 3:1-6 (The Message).
  3. Go to God. God is the Author of Hope. It’s one of His names. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NIV). So, if you don’t have hope, get it from him.
  4. Let the Holy Spirit Fill You. If your hope is empty, let the Holy Spirit fill you up so much that you overflow with hope again.  
  5. Keep Your Hope. When God fills you with hope, which I believe He will do TODAY, then it is your responsibility to keep it.


How Do We Keep Our Hope (this time)?

  1. HOLD ON TO IT: We must hold on to our hope, hold on to our expectancy and let it be life-giving to us.
  2. GUARD OUR HEARTS: We must guard our hearts, for as Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” If we don’t protect our hearts, the enemy will try to sneak in and make our hearts sick again.
  3. RESIST THE DEVIL: When you hear the voice of the devil – when he begins to plant seeds of doubt, seeds of unbelief, seeds of discouragement when he tries to steal your hope…then it is our responsibility to “resist the devil, and he will flee” (James 4:7).


Let Me Pray For You

Have you struggled with hope deferred recently? Let me pray for you today.

Father, we thank you for setting people free today from the LIE of deferred hope. We thank you for shining the light of your truth into the lies of the enemy. In the name of Jesus, I break off any unbelief; any doubts that your promises will come to pass. I break off any discouragement from the delay. We receive your Holy Spirit to refill us with HOPE to overflowing. We receive your wisdom today, and we receive that hope and expectancy in your promises ARE life-giving to us. Lord, may the process of waiting NOT drain us of our HOPE, but may we LOOK FORWARD TO all you have for us. Amen!

Did this encourage you? Let me know.

Blessings to you.

~ Cherlyn

P.S. If you’d like to leverage coaching to support you in overcoming hope deferred, let me know. Email me or message me over social media, and let’s see if working with me is a good fit for you.


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