Tending the Garden of Hope

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The Coronavirus is filling the news and disrupting everyone’s lives in one way or the other all around the world. Its impact is going to be felt for a long time to come. Suddenly our ways of life have been turned upside down. Many are perplexed and worried in these uncertain times. Graeme Duncan urges us to be agents of hope in challenging times.

The knock on effects of this killer virus are becoming ever far ranging, with jobs and businesses under threat long term, and families worried as to how financial commitments can be met, and the family provided for.

So what hope is there in these uncertain times?

On the Derbyshire side of Sheffield is a little village named, ‘Hope’. A very keen amateur gardener by the name of Fred Marsden once lived there. For forty five years of his life he tried to win the prize for the best kept garden in the annual village competition, but he failed every time. Then in 1956 after all those years of trying, he eventually won it! By then he was eighty nine years old ! When they congratulated him for sticking it out for so long and presented him with the winners trophy he was asked to what he finally attributed his success.
‘Well’, he said, ‘It’s quite simple really, I’ve lived in ‘hope’ all my life!’ He not only lived in the village of ‘Hope’, but he lived in the ‘hope’ that one day he would win that trophy. He stuck at it…..he didn’t give up.

Alexander Pope said that, “hope springs eternal in the human breast”. The fact is though that hope has taken a bit of a beating in the last few years. We have seen so many hopes fail, and pessimism, cynicism and despair have grown to an increasing degree. Now a killer virus is threatening our way of life and the hopes of the future for many. Where is hope to be found in such uncertain times as these?

We have an assured hope and peace which comes from God alone

When David, the psalmist, was in despair, and becoming cynical and full of hopelessness, he asked himself why he was feeling like that. The answer came to him instantly. He realised that he was placing his hope and trust in the wrong things in life. The answer was straightforward and plain – hope in God. ‘In you, my God, I trust’ (Psalm 25.1)

As we cope with the many implications of the Coronavirus outbreak we need to remind ourselves as Christians that we have an assured hope and peace which comes from God alone, and which is not dependent upon our circumstances. My well-being is held safe and secure in God’s hands. We do not need to worry, there is a real hope to be had.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4.6-7)

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So many people are fearful right now. As Christians we can be agents of hope and be a light in their darkness. Doubtless you remember that Bible account of the disciples in a boat during a raging storm, with Jesus asleep in the stern? They were terrified. There appeared to be no hope, but Jesus stilled the storm, and their fears, with a simple command.

As Christians we have the Spirit of Christ within us, so may his hope, peace and love, and not our fear, shine through us and from us like a beacon on a hill, so that many people may be attracted to Jesus Christ living in us during these challenging times.