It’s been said that Christmas is a season that heightens joy for some but deepens misery for others. For those experiencing prolonged trials this holiday season, Hope Deferred by Carole Dougherty is the book for you. Published by WestBow Press in 2017, the statement on the cover will immediately resonate with the desired reader: “For all those worn out by the length of their road.”
Many will agree that spiritual growth occurs most during difficult times. But as the author writes, “There is something about suffering for a long time that short bouts of pain cannot achieve.”
Creatively using a harvest theme – the process of planting, pruning, weeding and harvesting, Dougherty weaves the story of her own weather-beaten life with the process of bearing fruit during a growing season. She masterfully incorporates Scripture through the account.
Dougherty candidly shares her story chronologically and includes difficult events from her childhood, journey of adopting several children, numerous financial setbacks, multiple family illnesses, an addicted wayward daughter and a mysterious, debilitating, long-tern chronic illness with yet another daughter.
As one who’s been put through the fire, Daugherty shares the many lessons she has learned: letting her faith land on His promises, keeping her eyes on the Lord and not her problems, and finding hope and joy before the trial ends.
Below are some excerpts from Hope Deferred that spoke to me:
“Trusting is not knowing His purpose but believing that He loves me and is doing what’s best for me. It’s knowing that someday our mess will open doors for His message.”
“Keeping me blindfolded and having to trust Him every step of the way for many years would force me to hang on tight and listen very carefully for His voice.”
“I fell on my face exhausted every day, begging for answers and deliverance, never realizing that the process I was going through was much more valuable to God than just my suffering coming to an end.”
“I am trying not to doubt in the dark what you have taught me in the light.”
“If we are walking with God, our faith doesn’t have to be diminished when a crisis strikes. His grace can cause it to be magnified.”
“Everything we go through is about learning to trust…everything! What are we supposed to do in the wait? ‘Lord, may we not fear not knowing.’ He tells us that it is possible to be content while not seeing where we are going. The reason we can is because He knows and He is still leading.”
The author eventually concedes, “Even though our circumstances don’t change, we do, and we emerge a force to be reckoned with. To be trusted with God’s silence is to be selected for His greater work.”
If you find yourself in a time of long-term crisis; if you find yourself saying, “I can’t take it anymore;” if you’re feeling abandoned by God and others, let this book be a source of comfort for you.
Hope deferred? In His time.
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statues” (Ps. 119:71).
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12).