Today's proverb is placing before us a truth - that when we hope for something and that hope is indefinitely put off - we can become heart-sick for that thing. When we want something very badly, we begin to set our sights upon it and long for it. If that thing does not come to us - the longing increases to the point where we cannot get it out of our minds. From that point there is an increasing burden upon our hearts for the thing we long for in life. But if what we long for is not within our grasp - and we cannot bring it within our grasp - our hearts will grow sick over it. Soon, we find ourselves in a morose and depressed state over this thing - where it dominates our lives. If there is not a relieiving of that situation - we will lose hope altogether - which is a sad state to be in as we walk through life. I'm sure we've all met someone who has utterly lost hope - embittered against someone, something, even against God - they live a life defined not by what they have - but by the one thing they did not get. They are a bitter, resentful, horrid lot - and very difficult to be around.
The opposite of this is also true - that a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. There is something about a desire that is met that thrills and envigorates the soul. We find ourselves overjoyed at the realization of that which we desired - and it only encourages us to desire and work toward other things. Please see and grasp that word, "work" here. Jacob had a desire to marry Rachel - and was willing to work 7 years for that desire to be realized. The Word tells us that the 7 years seemed but days because of his great love for her. Even after his father in law deceived him and gave him Leah first, Jacob still worked another seven years for Rachel. There is something about a desire that can be realized, that will make us work hard for it. There is something about the accomplishment of a task - one that helps us realize a goal - that will help us to work joyfully toward it. That is why it is so wise to live by understanding that comes from knowing and pursuing God's will rather than our own.
Romans 12:1-2 urges us to present our very bodies to God as a living sacrifice. We are exhorted to be conformed to God, and not to this world. And in this divine pursuit we are promised that we will find the will of God to be good, acceptable, and perfect. There is wisdom indeed! The desire fulfilled here is a reference to God's will being the source and the center of our desires. We do not allow the world to lead us by the nose through its lusts. That, too often, will lead to heart sickness over a hope deferred again and again. What is astounding is the heart sickness is over that which is outside God's will for us. When we make the mistake of being conformed to this world, our desires are conformed to its lusts as well. Then we find ourselves in opposition to God's will and longing for things God does not desire to give to us. Just like with the Israelites, He may give them to us - but send a leanness to our souls in the process. This means that God will usually say, "No!" to those desires. If we continue to want them, we will find that our "ungodly hope" will be deferred again and again.
God's deferral is for our own good - but that is not the way that we will see it. We will continue to writhe in anguish in the grasp of God's controlling and sovereign hand - finding ourselves miserable in the will of God. Our heart sickness will eventually turn us against Him - making us think He is withholding from us that which is good or best. This, dear saints, is the same lie that was told to Eve in the garden. God knows that in the day you eat of this forbidden fruit your eyes will be opened. He is trying to keep you from being just like Him. Just like Eve, we will too often believe the lie - and allow our heart sickness to lead to a soul sickness - and death.
We do not want the false fruit of the tree of our own and this world's evil desires. What we should want is the fruit of the tree of life. Interesting isn't it, how this passage points us to that fateful decision that was made in the garden. That decision deferred the hope of life for generations - and unleashed on the earth sin, suffering, and death that would reign over men until the second Adam, Jesus Christ, made His appearance and destroyed the lie. Oh, saints of God, do not give your life to worldly and fleshly hopes that will only take you toward heart sickness. Embrace God's ways and paths. Surrender to His will and His Spirit's guiding. In that you will find a tree of life that will yield not just an earthly satisfaction now - but an eternal one that will last forevermore.