How do we find garden hope in Abraham? For starters, his is a seed story! How many of us have seed catalogs spread everywhere about now, with garden plans, vegetable tallies, and flurries of flower fields in mind to fill the seasons ahead. Truly, seeds are packets of hope; they encourage our hearts in what might be, if only we cultivate diligently.
But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.
Romans 8:24-25 TPT
click here to read more on Zera’, the Hebrew word for descendant and seed, and how this playful interchange involves Abraham (Abram)
Hope for gardeners is faith in a process:
The beautiful, mysterious promise of seed-sprout-root-stem-leaf-flower-fruit-seed again,
overlaid on the promise of rhythmic spring-summer-autumn-winter-spring again,
interspersed with the whimsy of weather, both predictable patterns and storms of who-knows-how-much-rain-snow-or-hail-then-sun again.
It all comes together in hope; that by waiting, we will emerge with satisfying scenery, soil and soul-stirring connection, good, fresh food, delightful flowers (or disaster stories and plenty of compost material!). The system has built-in hope, always looking forward, moving forward, advancing; and with faith and patience we will receive the garden’s promise, arms heavy-laden with happiness and harvest.
Even when we don’t know specifics — whether the crocus that drifted across the open field will increase in a planted pot, or when to prune the elaeagnus — we have assurance. We are strengthened by our faith in the process, and by hope.
Hope for Abraham was faith in God:
When God spoke the beautiful, mysterious Word to go to the land He would show him,
overlaid by the promise to father a nation,
interspersed with the promise to bless all people on the earth,
it all came together in hope; Abraham not knowing specifics but believing God had the power to do what he had promised.
[Abraham] is our father in God’s sight because he trusted God as the one who gives life to the dead and calls nonexistent things into existence. For he was past hope, yet in hope he trusted that he would indeed become a father to many nations, in keeping with what he had been told, “So many will your seed be.”
His trust did not waver when he considered his own body — which was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old — or when he considered that Sarah’s womb was dead too. He did not by lack of trust decide against God’s promises.
On the contrary, by trust he was given power as he gave glory to God, for he was fully convinced that what God had promised he could also accomplish.
Romans 4:17-21 CJB
Abraham’s faith and trust strengthened him, and diligently to the very end, he held on to hope and received God’s promises.
We want you all to continue working until the end so that you’ll realize the certainty that comes with hope and not grow lazy. We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God. Remember when God made His promise to Abraham? He had to swear by Himself, there being no one greater: “Surely I will bless you and multiply your descendants.” And after Abraham had endured with patience, he obtained the promise he had hoped for.
Hebrews 6:11-12 VOICE
Prayer: Lord, hoping in you is a strengthening exercise. Abraham’s faith strengthened as he held onto your promise and watched in hope. All he began with was hope that such a glorious gift, to finally father a child, could be true, because of what you said. And a child led to a whole nation, and a blessing to all nations! My garden has taught me similarly to hope, and how I pray to fully transfer this hope from garden to you, Almighty God. You are the One who has the power to do what you promise. Help me to be diligent to the very end and receive much more than a beautiful garden — the hope of a right relationship with you, God my Savior. May I watch in my garden for you.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Micah 7:7 NIV
Hope is a garden defined! By its very working, the garden gives us something to look forward to — a good, glorious growth taking place or soon to dazzle us, one that lifts our hearts whenever we imagine it. Find Garden Hope is a 7-part devotional series for the Lenten season, matching God’s Word to garden antics and imagery and preparing our hearts to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with deeper union and delight.
©2021 Shelley S. Cramm Can you identify these Bible plant seeds?
From the left: golden seeds of citron, chunky seeds from fava beans, brown seeds of fennel, black seeds of leeks, and coarse seeds of barley
CJB notes Scripture quotations taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
DLNT denotes Scripture quotations taken from Disciples’ Literal New Testament: Serving Modern Disciples by More Fully Reflecting the Writing Style of the Ancient Disciples, Copyright © 2011 Michael J. Magill. All Rights Reserved. Published by Reyma Publishing
NIV denotes Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.®
TPT denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com
VOICE denotes Scripture quotations taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2012 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.