Monday, September 26, 2022

Trees of Life: Desire Fulfilled (Proverbs 13:12)


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. [Proverbs 13:12, ESV]

This verse is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. When I read this verse for the first time, I was going through a very difficult time in my life, and I had grown weary as I prayed and waited for the Lord to do what He had spoken to my heart. I read this verse two or three times, which was enough for me to memorize the verse verbatim. I have never forgotten this verse, and this verse is used frequently when I am speaking to other Christians about waiting on God during hard times. This verse does not tell us what to do during hard times, but it encourages us to look toward the future that God has prepared for us.

Ever since I first read this verse, the way it describes a desire fulfilled has been really interesting to me. In my studying of the book of Proverbs, I have come across other verses that describe things as being trees of life. I have wanted to write about each of these trees of life, so here I am. Today’s tree comes from Proverbs 13:12.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,...

I love the way that the ESV translates this verse. “Hope deferred” is a more elegant way of describing the repeated disappointment that comes with waiting for something. To defer something would mean that that thing is being postponed, pushed off, or delayed. The deferment of certain things can be good, but deferring hope is not good at all. Hope includes the longing for something that has not happened, something that one greatly desires, something that one really wants to happen. When that hope is deferred – when that which he is hoping for is delayed – the heart is made sick.

What does it feel like to have a sick heart? A sick heart causes a deep, unwavering pain in a person. That pain works its way into every area of one’s life, keeps him awake at night, brings him to tears, and leaves him feeling like nothing else matters.

I have experienced the pain that comes with hope being deferred, and I know how awful it feels. In private, I have described the period of my hope being deferred as being so awful that I would not wish it upon my worst enemy, and too awful for me to be willing to take that pain from somebody. If there ever was an opportunity for me to take away from another the pain that comes with a sick heart, I would like to think that I would be willing to take said pain away, but I cannot say that I would. Perhaps I need to pray for God to give me the willingness to take the pain of others away from them, or perhaps I need to stop worrying about situations that have never happened to me.

…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Hope deferred causes the heart to become sick, which is one of the worst feelings that one can have. The encouraging part of this verse comes from the part that is being discussed now. Yes, it is hard to have our hope deferred, it causes us pain, and it can feel like nothing will change, but when things do change, it will be a tree of life.

What is a tree of life? A tree of life is (in my interpretation) an indescribably powerful form of encouragement. A tree of life brings life back to one who feels like his life has ended, it brings joy to the heaviest of hearts, and it brightens the darkest of days. A tree of life is something that one will always remember, something that will encourage him for the rest of his life, and something that can encourage others.

It is not easy to wait for things to change. There are things that I have been waiting a long time for, so I know the way it hurts to go to bed, knowing that another day has come and gone without desire being fulfilled. However, I have experienced the tree of life that comes from a desire fulfilled, and it really changed the way I look at life.

I suppose one could apply this verse to things that do not involve God. However, this is a verse from the Bible, and I am a Christian, so I am talking about the meaning of this verse in the context of waiting on God to do something that He has promised to do. There is a certain type of faith that can only come from the Lord. This faith is something from God, letting us know that He will do something. When we have that type of faith about something, we cannot give up on what God has said that He would do, but we cannot force things to happen. The faith in question means that one is “stuck” (for lack of a better term) in a place where he cannot go backwards, cannot go to the right hand or to the left, and cannot stop moving forward. The journey toward what God has put on one’s heart can be incredibly difficult, and it may be tempting for him to give up. However, when one perseveres, trusts in the Lord, and hopes for what God has promised to him, the day that God’s promise comes to fruition will change his life forever. The day that journey comes to an end will be a day that will be remembered always.

Trust in the Lord, hope in Him, and keep His commandments. God is always faithful, He loves us, He sees us, He cares about us, and He will never forsake us. If you are currently hoping for something from God, do not give up. If God says that something will happen, it will happen. Trust in Him, ask for His guidance, and He will plan your steps.


  1. Your blog on Proverbs 13:12 is
    very insightful! I never thought of a tree of life as a powerful form of encouragement that brings life back to a dying soul, but I can now see how this is the case. Isaiah 61 calls those with the Spirit of God oaks of righteousness (fruit producing trees). Jeremiah 17:7-8 says “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
    This man does not stop trusting in the Lord regardless of how things are or appear to be.
    Based on what you have written (your faith and your own experience waiting on God) and based on the Scriptures in this comment, you are a tree of life!
    You continue to trust in the Lord and continoue to bear fruit regardless of the season. Thank you for sharing and for encouraging others through your blog.
    God bless!

    1. I really appreciate your comment. I am glad that I have something new to contribute to the discussion about God's Word. I hope you and your family are blessed.

      Also, if I am a tree of life because I encouraged you, then you are a tree of life because you have encouraged me.

      God bless!


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