Growing Hope

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5


It had been unseasonably hot. When shade finally enveloped the garden, I started transplanting. The mosquitos seemed to have a similar idea. Addie, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, seemed to wanted to help and was under foot. Sweat rolled off my head and splashed on my glasses. My knees, hips and back expressed dissatisfaction with the flexibility required to complete some basic gardening tasks. Our evening was curtailed by a thunderstorm that chased us indoors. This was not the idyllic experience I imagined in January and February! 


My dad was a botanist by training and loved plants. He and my mom were avid gardeners. Both of my grandfathers were farmers. My mom’s parents were active in the Grange. You might say there was a genetic predisposition for growing things. You could also say it was conditioned behavior. I have many memories of planting and harvesting gardens and field crops.


There is no question my gardening efforts connect me to cherished memories. The dirt, seeds, tubers and bulbs keep me connected to creation. I marvel at the beauty and resilience of nature. Finally, I think gardening allows me to express hope. It keeps me looking ahead to the next season or next year.


Romans 5 reminds us that hope does not disappoint. Where do you find hope?


PRAYER: God of creation, we thank you for the beauty of this season. Help us find ways to be good stewards of the earth. May our lives reflect the love you have poured in our hearts. Amen

Nathan Martens