The events of this week from Boston have struck a chord in my heart. It is eery to see these images from a place I have been- to watch runners fall to the ground at the finish line- to watch medical personnel aiding the injured- hearing the screaming crowd- all of these things happened in 2004 when I ran the marathon. But it makes me sick to see all these same events connected to a bombing. I feel a kind of sickness that doesn't hit the stomach, but a little higher in the heart.
Maybe that's why today I keep thinking of the saying from Proverbs that "A hope deferred makes the heart sick." (Proverbs 13:12) There were so many painful hopes deferred yesterday. A local gal from our area turned the final corner onto Boylston Street- a scene I remember well- only to be forced to stop. For any marathoner, this turn towards the glory of the finish line is etched forever in your memory, especially at Boston. For her, the life-long dream would end there with the banners and ticking clock within site. Hope deferred. For others, they had gone to cheer on a friends or family member as they put on their final kick at the end of the race, only to end up running for their lives away from that place, never to see the loved one finish. Hope deferred. For still others, a loved one or friend who had come to cheer them on in the race of their life will never come home again. Hope deferred. Heart sick.
This complete Proverb says, "A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Many of us are watching these events unfold and are left with a deep longing in our chests. We long for a world where these events do not happen. We long for safety, peace and security. We long for a human experience marked by kindness and compassion, not anger and hate. But how will this longing be fulfilled?
In my understanding, I only know of one place where we find a tree of life- God's eternal heaven. And something about events like yesterday makes us long for that place. A place where hope is not deferred, but is fully experienced in the presence of God. Events like yesterday always remind me that we live in a hope-deferred kind of time, but that Jesus came to produce a longing-fulfilled kind of world. In Christ, we find the fulfillment of our longings as we experience the "right now among you" kingdom that Jesus inaugurated through is death and resurrection. Yet we still experience hope-deferred moments day after day.
So if, like me, you find yourself a bit heart sick these days, may it remind you we live in a broken world. A world that is not our home. But a new kingdom is breaking in, a kingdom of peace where longings are fulfilled. We live in place that is not yet all that God intended, and so He sent His Son. He sent Jesus to be our longing fulfilled and to lead us into life. May we cling tightly to him in the days to come.
Peace as you run this journey-