The Tree of Life

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12

Deferred hope—we’ve all been there. We have expectations or promises which are suddenly dashed to the ground. It can be heartbreaking, and if we’re not careful, we can allow a “root of bitterness” to spring up and cause a lot of problems (Hebrews 12:15).

Why am I writing this? Well, Beyond Common Sense is all about seeing God’s hand in daily occurrences. This Thanksgiving was a bit disappointing as our son had to change his plans to visit because of health issues. It took me a while to work through that one (it was also their Christmas visit.) But the Lord is so gracious and showered us with blessing in so many unforeseen ways.

Then the tree came. I know there will be a day when we no longer have a real tree, but for now, my sweet husband humors me. So, through cold, and sleet, and crowds of people, we got our tree—trotted right up that hill and cut ‘er down!

We came “home,” which is now in my mom’s basement, and proceeded to decorate her home. It went well and we love doing it AND she is over-the-top grateful. But then, we started decorating our home. That’s when I discovered the meaning of this verse.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Heartsick—that would be last year, because…

  • We were frantically trying to get mom well enough to have hip surgery.
  • Pain meds were changing her into someone not very nice!
  • Change in ministry—our assistant pastor and his family came and moved into the parsonage
  • Change of home
  • No home! Last year at this time, we were in the process of changing four cinderblock walls into a beautiful living room, bedroom, office, bathroom, and storage area.
  • Most of our belongings were in storage… including our Christmas decorations.

As Tom pulled out the boxes and I started rummaging through them, a “tree of life” sprouted in my heart! Such joy! Precious treasures that I hadn’t seen for two years danced before my eyes. Most of my “stuff” is memory items, so along with the joy of seeing those precious treasures, all the names and faces of friends and family who have showered us with gifts also flooded my heart.

The tree of life. What exactly is that? Is it something like the Fountain of Youth—just a fable? No, it was an actual tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden, but reading through the other Bible verses fills in some of the mystery and wonder behind this special tree. If you would like to see what I found, click here, but the best summary and useful information for us today, just my opinion, is the following from Matthew Henry on Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

“The righteous are as trees of life; the fruits of their piety and charity, their instructions, reproofs, examples, and prayers, their interest in heaven, and their influence upon earth, are like the fruits of that tree, precious and useful, contributing to the support and nourishment of the spiritual life in many; they are the ornaments of paradise, God’s church on earth, for whose sake it stands.”

So, if you are in that “hope deferred” stage of life, take a look at the ten verses God gave us to strengthen us and encourage us to have hope! And then, go and sprout a few branches for others to see and bring glory to our Savior!

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