There are times when you’ve done all you can to rectify a situation, to fix a relationship, even going above and beyond what should be humanly expected, but things remain cold and unchanged. I've been there. Oh, I've been there.
This can be a lack of forgiveness toward you. You've wronged them in some way and forgiveness (or affection) is withheld, in an effort to punish you. Or it can be a sign of indifference. They're not interested in repairing the relationship and they don't even have the courage (or decency, or maturity) to come forward and say as much, and why.
At times like these, when your best efforts have fallen flat, when you've reached out until your arms are tired, the last thing you feel is hopeful. I’ve been there. And I’ve sat with friends who were there, ready to throw in the towel and give up.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Have truer words ever been written? Hope deferred creates a constant state of anxiety, because you wake up every day and hope things will change today. Maybe today. Maybe today. But today passes and nothing changes, so you think, maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow. But tomorrow comes and things don’t change. And the brutal cycle continues.
It’s no wonder people are broken down, physically and mentally. Hope deferred truly makes the heart sick.
Maybe giving up (a subject I've blogged about before) is the best choice. I'm not saying give up on people, necessarily, but we have to remember that we all are imperfect creatures. And the harsh reality is you can’t change people. Quite frankly, neither can God, unless they want to be changed. All the prayer in the world will not change a person if that person doesn’t want to change. You can pray that their hearts will be softened, but God is not a dictator. He created us with a free will. Only when we surrender our will can He change us. So, while placing your hopes in a person isn’t wrong, it can be an act of futility.
An encouraging verse comes from Psalm 71:5: “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.”
To hope in God, now that is the secret. That doesn’t mean God will always give you what you’re hoping for, but it does mean that your hopes are in good hands. Psalm 31:24 says, “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
You may be beat down by circumstances beyond your control. You may have given all you have, and it's just not enough. But the good news is, if your hope is in the LORD, He will strengthen your heart.
I don't know about you, but I find great comfort in that promise.