A Particular Type of Heartsickness
It was a normal Saturday. I was mowing the lawn when a woman I knew from a previous church walked by me and struck up a conversation. Much of the conversation was just the normal catching up, but then she turned to tell me a bit about one of her relatives who had been fiery for Jesus but was now struggling to find purpose and had stopped meeting with believers altogether. She asked me to pray for him, which I did.
I sat there, praying, and a thought hit me that seemed to be spontaneous enough that I should consider whether the Lord was inspiring it. This is what I heard: “There’s a certain kind of disappointment that can paralyze a man’s soul.”
As I pondered the thought, I realized that often we can have high expectations for God to move and for things to change, but there are two different responses in the heart of men. One response is to continue to press in more. The other response is to become heart sick when you don’t see the type of Christianity you’ve been believing for lived out among a group of people. Proverbs talks about this when it says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life,” (Proverbs 13:12).
This is the danger that so many of us risk running into. If we truly believe in apostolic Christianity, we run the risk of being disappointed if it doesn’t take root with our church. We can have a vision for revival and a move of the Spirit and when it doesn’t come in the time or the way we thought, we can become so heartsick we backslide. We can want to be a part of a house church so badly that we suffer in our walk with Christ when one doesn’t materialize. This isn’t just a theory, I’ve watched it happen with young men and young women who I thought were among the fieriest people I knew.
Disappointment makes our heart sick. So what do we do? Do we stop believing? Do we set the bar really low so no one can be disappointed? Not at all.
Instead, we press in to the heavenly vision that is given us. We also need to set our hearts on Jesus and not our vision. We take refuge in being loved by God regardless of whether we see everything we thought we would see. Often, those of us who are heartsick end up that way because the love of Jesus is not alive and active in our hearts, only the love of our vision. With the seeming death of our vision, we at best backslide and at worst walk away from our faith.
Friends, carefully guard your hearts so that your vision for Christianity and your life serve Christ. Make sure that Christ isn’t serving your vision. It’s the only way to protect your heart from this particular type of heart sickness.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.