“Hope,” “heart,” and “longing” all relate to our insides – feelings, thoughts, emotions and attitudes. And what the verse says is true – when things don’t work out as we had planned (“hope deferred”), it can really get to us – emotionally (“makes the heart sick”) and even physically.
The opposite is also true that a hope, desire or “longing” that does come to pass (“fulfilled”) has special meaning. It is like “a tree of life” to us.
The phrase “tree of life” was a well-known ancient motif. In the Bible it was mentioned in both the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem. Depiction of single trees as central in ancient art of numerous cultures have been suggested by many scholars to be a “tree of life.”
But whatever special symbolism this tree had to the ancients, its most basic meaning simply suggests something very positive. It represented life, health and production. A tree of life produces other things that are alive and well – which, in turn, produce yet others which can also be alive, well and producing. Can you feel it?!?!