O, the hope in knowing that just on the other side of these hot August days are the crisp nights of Autumn, with a revitalizing chill at dusk and dawn! “Refresh me with apples,” the beloved appeals (Song of Songs 2:5), stirring visions of one of fall’s favorite crops. Wait with me, hope with me, in whatever you are looking forward to, embraced in God’s goodness, refreshed to endure with quenching Words of the Lord. Today’s devotion-excerpt from God’s Word for Gardeners Bible is found in the Garden Tools section, highlighting Hope.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him.
Lamentations 3:25 NIV
By definition hope involves waiting, because what we hope for is what we are looking ahead to — what will be happening (hopefully) before long (hopefully). Waiting is where our gardening skills serve us best, and we have much to offer a generation accustomed to instant information in the clutch of their hand.
Waiting without hope is not really understood as waiting at all — it is treated as realtime anxiety, a perceived permanent state of never-having, easily inflamed to a hyperstate of frenzied pride and haughtiness. For a gardener to throw a fit, have an attack or otherwise be in deep misery in early summer because their fall fruits cannot be harvested is unheard of, straightforward madness! Of course the seasons must take their course; the fresh breezes and sweet earth smells must yield to more than a few hot, sunny, sultry days, then teeter on tenuous fears of first freeze, before baskets are laden with fruitful treasure.
And then behold, there will be more than one would ever hope for: applesauce, apple cider, apple salad, apples stored in the cellar, apple butter, apple jelly with still more to give away! For a gardener, waiting is purposeful, giving time and space to what is growing — “things too wonderful for me” (Psalm 131:1). As George William Francis wrote, we can be refreshed in the charms of the flowers and plants and take up the “tendency to look from them to Him.”
Thus instead of the interest in these plants being diminished I sincerely hope it will be increased by this refresher of their charms . . . the whole [volume] will, I trust, give a thirst for the knowledge of the Creator’s works, and a tendency to look from them to Him who made them all, and who viewing all the objects that he had fashioned “saw that they were all good.”
— George William Francis, The Favorites of the Flower Garden, 1844
Prayer: God, how many good things you help me with as I wait and hope in you (Psalm 33:19 – 20). More than the happiness of having anything I wait for, may I rejoice in simply trusting your unfailing love, which is always with me (Psalm 33:22). Lord, you are so good to give me eternal encouragement and courage and strength in the meantime; fill me with your good hope as I wait on you (2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 17).
Photo Credits: ©2013 Shelley S. Cramm A refreshing sight: crab apple boughs laden with fruit in Quebec, Canada