Hope Deferred At Checkout

Almost every time I leave the grocery store, I exit the same way.

Luke, sitting in the front of the buggy, screaming to the top of his little lungs as I push him through the parking lot.

Why is he crying as we leave the store?

Two words: Hope Deferred.

Let me explain. In order to maintain a bit of my sanity, I begin to offer him snacks, little toys from the dollar aisle, a new Thomas the Train book to enjoy as I shop, a package of Lightening McQueen cars to admire, a Charlie Brown DVD cover to study. When he grows tired of one toy, I offer him another.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick…Proverbs 13:12

But it never fails that he finds the one. The toy he enjoys above the rest. The object of his grocery store affection.

Hope (towcheleth) – expectation

When I get to the checkout, I hand the clerk toy after toy, “I’m sorry, we won’t be buying these today.” (I’m sure they just love me, right?)

“What about that one?” The clerk asks, referring to the toy in Luke’s hand.

“We’re not getting that one either, but can I hand it to you very last as I am leaving?”

But Luke has my number now. He holds the toy to his chest, his little knuckles white. “Mine.”

I swipe my card. Put the last bag in the buggy. “O.K. Lukey. Say ‘thank you for letting me play with the toy.’ Let’s give it to the nice lady.”

Deferred (mashak) -delayed; lead along; postponed; drawn out; to seize; to take away.

Scream. Cry. Kick. “No no no no no. My toy. No. Mama no. Mine!!”

Sick (chalah) – to make sad

His expectation unmet.

His hope, lead on by his mean ol’ mother, now seized and all he is left holding is his sad heart.

And as I left the store this week, I looked down at his brokenness, I MEAN BROKENNESS, and thought “Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Becky, you can’t do this to him anymore.”

I can relate to Luke. I have held onto dreams for so long, held white-knuckled to objects of my desire, only to have them taken away. And afterwards, all I have to hold is my own sadness.

Are you feeling me on this? What are we putting our hope in? A dream? A mate? A baby? A job? A house? A friendship? And we’ve been let down. Severely let down. BROKENNESS.

I am learning two things today:

One: I can not continue to teach my two-year-old not to trust me.

Two: God does not operate like this. Neither should I.

…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12

Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10

Whatever it is that is being ripped from us, Jesus came to replenish. He came to give abundantly.

He doesn’t steal from us. Or destroy our dreams.

He came to fulfill them.

I don’t want to teach Luke that he has to hold on so tightly to his desires. I want to teach him that he can trust me.

Jesus wants me to trust Him, too. The only One who can satisfy. The only One who can meet my needs. The One who gives good gifts.

What is it today that I hold too tightly?

What hope of yours has been deferred? Is your heart sick today? Has a dream been lost? Are you broken?

I have a good report for you. In Christ, your desires are fulfilled.

Disclaimer: Hold all things loosely. He may change our desires. He may need to realign our hearts with His desires for us. Things may look different in the long run, yes. But better.


He is our tree of life. He is our greatest Hope. And he WILL NOT disappoint.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.” John 15:5

He is THE tree of life. And a tree of abundant life, at that.

2 thoughts on “Hope Deferred At Checkout

  1. This is good, Becky. "Things may look different in the long run, yes. But better." It's the whole "beauty from ashes" thing. Thank you for the reminder to hold things loosely! I tend to hold things pretty tightly, too!

  2. I just love how you brought a simple act of parenting into a biblical perspective. My favorite part is your disclaimer – that we shouldn't hold on too tight to hopes of this world, because He may have different plans for me. Also, the only hope I should be clinging to is my hope in Him. Thanks for sharing!

I means so much to hear from you!

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