Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Our Hope


A Spring of Hope
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” 
–Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

I garden in New England, so every season I have to start a goodly amount of my annuals indoors. I don’t have a potting shed or greenhouse, so the large front window becomes my staging area. I have trays of seedlings sitting in the sun, waiting for the warmer weather.

This weekend, I finally came to terms with my first failure of the year. I had to give up on my chilies. I had planted two varieties and patiently waited. And waited. Saturday made it one month since planting, and there was simply no way they were going to sprout. I think I know what I did wrong – not enough heat. I won’t make that mistake next year. For this year, I’ll just have to buy chilies from the nursery. Happily, my tomato seeds germinated just fine, and those seedlings are four-inches high and rising, something that delights me to no end.

There is nothing quite like gardening. Seeds go in the ground, or on the tray, or in the pot with great expectations or cautious hopes, and when the first shoots appear they bring joy with them. Spring is full of that particular kind of joy. Little green bits are popping up out of the ground everywhere. By the time May rolls around I’ll be setting out the veggies and the flowers, and a new phase of hope and expectation starts. I’ll be looking for flowers, and then fruit, with an eye to harvest-time.

Something about this particular kind of expectation reminds me of Christian hope. I think hope is one of the most difficult concepts in our faith. We often think of it like a wish or a desire we’re crossing our fingers that God will grant. Instead, hope is like that planted seed. We have an optimistic expectation because of Jesus. Hope in people and they will fail you. Hope in institutions and they will fail you. But hope in God and He will never fail you!

If you’re hoping that God gives you a million dollars, that’s not hope. Our hope rests in the truth that God is faithful. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

When we’re anxious, this is when we need to draw on this hope. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow but we know that God will provide. He may ask us to go through terrible trials, to struggle emotionally and financially, but He will be with us through it all. Nothing that we encounter in life can separate us from the love of God. Our hope is fixed and secure because Jesus Christ died (and rose again, completing the plan of salvation) so that we could live. We are able to have this security, this hope for eternity because Jesus paid the price for us. When we repent of our sins and place our faith in Him, we are redeemed.

When life is difficult, I try to remember how I feel when I see the first green shoots in spring. It’s the rainbow after the storm, a physical reminder of God’s promise to those who believe. I tuck that feeling in my heart, remembering my hope in God, the promise of salvation.

~*~
Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world; love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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