Recently I have been pondering over the many different circumstances people have had to endure, particularly here in the UK with the nation in its third lockdown. Many are afraid of the COVID-19 virus and the impact it has on their lives and the nation. This has left many feeling isolated, alone, anxious and depressed. Mental health issues have increased at an alarming rate.
All our lives have changed due to the current circumstances, and, as a result, people’s plans, desires, dreams and hopes have been deferred. In the scripture above, it tells us that when hope is prolonged or deferred it can affect all of who we are, not only our mental and emotional state, but the very core of who we are.
In the New King James Version of the bible, it says it ‘makes the heart sick’, and in the Good News Translation, it says, ‘If hope is crushed the heart is crushed’. The outworking of deferred hope can cause people to have a sense of despair and affliction. It can even cause people to have physical illness, if it is not dealt with quickly.
The second part of this verse tells us what happens when our desires are fulfilled, the things we have been longing for; it is a ‘tree of life’. This tree represents new life, a well of goodness in our whole being, which refreshes our heart and soul.
Many years ago, I came across Isaiah 60:1 in the Amplified bible, which says, ‘Arise (from spiritual depression to a new life), shine (be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord); for your light has come’ (Isaiah 60:1).
At the time I was looking for answers to why I had depression and where it was coming from. This verse really helped me to know that there was an answer to my question and a way forward (hope) for healing. After many years of walking with God, trusting in Him and putting my hope in the One who could heal my heart, I was able to receive the desires of my heart, to be free from the effects of depression, and to be as Proverbs says, a tree of life, or, as Isaiah says, to receive new life into those areas that were sick.
During these current circumstances, many people may be feeling lonely, anxious and depressed. My heart, and my prayer, is that we would all look to Jesus during these times. It is only He who can give us true hope and new life in our lives. Our own hopes, dreams and plans may have been disrupted or lost, but the hope we have in God never changes. Only Jesus can meet the deep needs that we have.
In Philippians 4:7 it tells us, ‘and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’. This truth is so true for today. We may not understand all that is going on, but God will be there for us, to guard and watch over us. We are His children, whom He loves.
Let us all look to Jesus during these times and put our hope and trust in Him, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in. You may want to pray the following prayer:
Prayer: Father, I pray that I would look to You during these difficult times, and that my hope would be in You, and in You alone. Lord, I want to come and lay before You my life, my anxieties, my fears, the loneliness I feel, and my mental and emotional state. Father, forgive me where I have put my trust and hopes in areas that are not of You. Help me to trust You and to allow the true hope that is in Jesus to be at the forefront of my life. Father, I know, as I surrender my life to You, You will lead, guide and restore me, and Your peace will bring security into my life. Thank You, Father, for Your love and care, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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