Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
– Proverbs 13:12
The word for deferred means to stretch or draw out. It indicates a hope, or expectation, that is delayed. The phrase heart sick is akin to what we would call depression, though not necessarily the full clinical sense. The point is the unbearable discouragement of endless waiting. When that longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. This imagery is used a few times in Proverbs (Proverbs 3:18; 11:30). It indicates a source that is life-giving and sustaining. The phrase here speaks of a reviving of the overwrought soul.