First Week in Advent – Day 7 – Hope through Loss

Many readers might recognize that the title line of this book emerges from Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Although I do not believe that I speak for the experiences of all people, as I say above, I do believe that anyone who has experienced the heartaches of reproductive loss and the cycles of hope/despair associated with those experiences, and has made it through to the other side (whatever that side may be), or who has successfully completed an adoption, knows the truth of this statement. This does not make the journey from one side to the other any less difficult, or any easier to comprehend as one travels. Tending the tree of life is often excruciating work. A tree of life, however, is the experience of both Eden and the Heavenly Jerusalem, and according to Revelation, its leaves are “for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). However the journey of “hope deferred” ends, it is my deepest wish that worship and preaching can help lead to the kind of healing that ultimately comes from God, who tends the tree of life with us.

Richard W. Voelz, Tending the Tree of Life: Preaching and Worship through Reproductive Loss and Adoption, p. 7

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