“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13.12 NIV).
One of my MMA trainers asked me what my favorite verse was. She wanted to have the verse printed on my fight shirt. I instantly thought of my Proverbs verse, which has been my heart’s cry for many years. I didn’t think the verse fit the whole MMA vibe, but I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to choose it. A couple of hours before my fight, my trainer and her designer handed me my personally designed shirt that boasted a hand-drawn image of my MMA gloved hand holding a pen. How fitting…the fighter and the writer! As I began my journey of becoming a writer many years ago, I found that God consistently called me into what I thought were failures. I would pour my heart, strength and energy into every task He placed in front of me. I would sacrifice my free time, force myself to grow and learn, and continually seek His guidance. My string of dead-ends confused me. I’d put forth the hard work only to come up empty handed every time. However, when my spirit soaked up Proverbs 13.12 (NIV), I finally found understanding. Jesus is the Tree of Life, and when we fully embrace Him, our lives will be filled with the outpouring of His glory. Instead of simply grabbing hold of a single fruit (blessing), I became determined to cling onto the entire Tree. Only in Jesus will I ever find complete peace, complete joy, complete purpose, complete acceptance and complete life! All the other fruits on the tree are products of Jesus’ awesomeness, and they manifest themselves in different ways on this earth and in our lives. I trust that every time my hope is deferred, the hard work I put in will be reinvested into the Tree of Life. And when I’m finally able to pluck a few fruit from my Tree, they will be huge, juicy and ripe!
God, help me to understand that blessings are merely the effects of who You are. Instead of wasting my energy reaching for a single blessing, show me how to live in Your presence so that Your blessings surround me. I have faith that every time I invest in the Tree of Life and my hope is deferred that my harvest of blessings is growing bigger because Your presence is growing stronger . I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.