How long, O Lord, how long? 

I sighed and curled into my pillow, pulling the comforter tight around me. It had been a full day, but now in the quiet darkness with the kids asleep in their beds, a familiar prayer bubbled up to the top.

I closed my eyes to sleep, but my thoughts stayed in overdrive. I’d prayed so hard for so long for God to bring something specific about. I’d even given Him a timeline—ample time to answer my prayer. Yet here I was, tucking myself into bed years later with no evidence that I was any closer to God giving me a yes.

I’d tried not to become obsessed with this heart’s desire. I’d thrown myself into ministry and parenting. I’d formed new plans and dreams. Some days were so full I didn’t have time to think about my longing. Other days, I thought about it but felt content enough to hold it loosely, trusting God whether He chose to fulfill it or not.

But sometimes, like in the quiet of this night, the longing returned with a mocking ache. I had tried my best to surrender it to God. So many times I’d heard or read that God’s “hope does not disappoint.” Well, my hope sure seemed to have dead-ended in disappointment.

The next morning, I looked that verse up and read it in my Bible: “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” (Romans 5:5 NLT).

Okay. Maybe if I read the whole passage, I could understand why I still felt so disappointed. So I looked back. Romans 5:3–4 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation” (NLT).

Oh. So this isn’t a birthday-wish kind of hope that God will give us whatever we want. This hope is produced by persevering in suffering. It’s a confident expectation of all we have in Jesus. It’s hope that God’s infinite love is enough no matter what our circumstances are.

I felt this aching disappointment because I’d misplaced my hope. Any hope rooted in an outcome, a timeline, or any other person will ultimately disappoint. Only hope that is anchored in Jesus will never disappoint. I needed to realign where I was placing my hope so that I could realign my disappointed heart.

So I began praying a new prayer. “Help me want You, Lord, more than I want anything else. Even that thing You know I’m longing so much for.” It’s a prayer God always answers, and God has steadily replaced my longing with a calm contentment for life as it is right now.

Have you misplaced your hope in an outcome, a timeline, or a person? If so, start asking God to help you want Him more than whatever that other thing is.

That’s a prayer God delights in answering yes.

Dear God, help me surrender this deep longing and instead be completely satisfied in the fullness of Your love, no matter my circumstances. I put my hope in You alone, who will never disappoint. In Jesus’s name, amen.

LISA APPELO is a speaker, writer, and Bible teacher who inspires women to deepen their faith in grief and find hope in the hard. Formerly a litigating attorney, her days are now filled with parenting seven children, ministering, writing, speaking, and running enough to justify lots of dark chocolate. Find Lisa’s encouragement for faith, grief, and hope at