The Hidden Blessing of a Hope Deferred

Fr. Kevin’s introduction: Scripture tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). I asked Savior member Alice Teisan, who has lived for 26 years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and POTS on total disability, what she has learned that may help others. Alice writes:

I had a dream in 1992 — a hope – to lead cross-country bicycle trips. I was four days from going on a ten-day, 1,000-mile bicycle trip, when struck by a life-altering illness. 

Proverbs 13:12a says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” John Gill’s commentary from the 1700s described my situation accurately: “If [hope] is delayed any length of time, the mind becomes uneasy, the heart sinks and fails, and the man is dispirited and ready to despond, and give up all hope of enjoying the desired blessing;” My physical reality was out of my control. But, making sure my heart didn’t become bitter toward the Lord would require taking drastic measures, which included regular prayer and intentionally putting on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20), to name just two of the many spiritual disciplines I practiced.

Delayed gratification is an invitation to enter into grief, a place where our heart can pulsate with our Savior’s, as we become more like Christ. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness.”

Preparation for Kingdom service requires a time of separating the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12). An unknown future ushered me into God’s schoolroom where I would gain the necessary tools for being effective in the Kingdom work awaiting me. There I began learning how to die to myself while relying on Jesus through faith. In the furnace of affliction, I learned that all he required was my obedience.

The gift of dashed hope challenges us to refocus a little more heavenward, whittling away at life’s comforts. Here in this broken and sinful world, our focus on the goodness of a Sovereign Lord becomes a little clearer and we become more acquainted with the mysteries of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who lives within each believer.

My 1992 dream — to bicycle in all 50 states and on all seven continents (even though by then I had biked coast-to-coast twice, through 30 states and also on four continents) – was too small. God edited my first draft but kept the basics: a love for cycling, traveling, serving, etc. His edited Kingdom plan came in 2005, when I founded His Wheels International (HWI), a Christian bicycle and hand-pedaled tricycle organization. But before his Kingdom plan, there was soul work to be completed.

Instead of having the thrill of cycling the world, I look forward to hearing one day in heaven how HWI was able to mobilize God’s work worldwide through bicycles and tricycles. I proclaim with Solomon, “A dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12b).

To learn more about His Wheels International, visit the website www.hiswheels.org