Always Hopes by Scarlett Stough

Two years in a row, a small farm near our home lost their blueberry crop. They lost it to drought; then the next year, the bushes were loaded with berries, but they lost the crop to a hail storm two days before they were scheduled to begin picking. They wondered if their labor was worth it. They still had to do the work; they still had to buy the insurance; and all the other expenses still had to be paid whether or not there was a crop. Their hope was fading, but they persevered.

This year, the bushes were filled with an abundance of berries, both ripe and unripe. Those of us who came on the first day to pick were rewarded with many quarts of berries in just an hour’s work. The fruit will continue ripening and be available for about two more weeks. This year their crop will provide fruit for the customers and a small income for the owners.

The owners pushed on in spite of their doubt because they continued to hope. Hope, waiting with the expectation of a good outcome, is both a gift from God and an attribute to cultivate. The blueberries are a gift from God, but the owners had to cultivate them. If they didn’t, the bushes would be choked by weeds and damaged by insects or disease. Our hope can be choked by allowing the weeds of worry to settle into our pattern of thinking. The farmer knows he must take steps to nourish and protect his crop. We, too, can take steps to nourish and protect our hope. Love “always hopes.” (I Corinthians 13:7)

The owners of the blueberry bushes continue to hope for a good crop each year out of love for their way of life and the satisfaction they feel when families come to gather the fruit to feed their families. They are helping to feed a community.

As Christians, we continue to hope because our God is the God of hope. (Romans 15:13) We have the hope of salvation (I Thessalonians 5:8) given to us through the Son of God. (Colossians 1:27)

When I got the blueberries home, I prepared them for freezing. I saved them from rotting so we could enjoy them throughout the coming year. God wants to save us from rotting. He wants to give us life now and for all eternity. But we have to want the kind of life he offers--a life of purity and service. (I John 3:3; James 1:27)

We also have to wait just as the blueberry owners had to wait for the crop to set and ripen.

We are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

(Romans 8:24-25KJV)

We also need to encourage one another because waiting often discourages us. (Proverbs 13:12)

…let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (I Thessalonians 5:8-11)

The greatest spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 13:13) of faith, hope, and love act as armor to protect us from discouragement and to help us persevere to the end of this life and on into eternity with God.

Volume 8 Issue 4 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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