Last updated on May 23rd, 2023 at 03:41 pm

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope. If a man sees then what would he hope for? However, if we hope for what we see not then we will with patience wait for it.

Roman 8:24,25 (paraphrase)

I am a gardener. I come by this naturally. My grandpa was a gardener. My dad is a gardener. I am the happiest sitting in the dirt, sunshine filling my soul, with a shovel in my hand.

Now, I live in the mountains in northern Nevada. What does this mean? We have extraordinarily long (and I mean loooooong) winters, with cold, miserable nights and snowy, dark days. That means once the sunshine of spring has arrived, you can’t drag me back indoors for such petty matters such as sweeping the floors or scrubbing the toilets. I want to be outside!!!

If you are thinking that such long winters are hard on a gardener, well you are right. I am running outside every nice day, digging around, trying to find an unfrozen patch of ground. But what the long winters and short summers really mean is that I have to have a plan. If I want to have the optimal garden, I must plan ahead!

The start of spring. The back garden in need of a good cleanup.

Planning actually starts in the fall as I am putting the plants to bed for the winter. If a plant has outgrown itself, then it must be divided and moved. Bulbs must be planted. Potted plants that will survive go into the garage for the winter. I must research new plants and decide which will be optimal for each area.

Then about January, I start sketching the garden layout for the year. Do you know what January is like in northern Nevada? Frozen, snowy, and cold. How can I even be thinking sunshine and flowers in January? Well, it all starts with hope. Hope that eventually the days will get longer, the sun will be shining, and the ground will get soft.

The Bible talks about having a hope and a plan also. I really like Romans 8:24 and 25. It says, “We are saved by hope.” That is a pretty strong statement but a very encouraging one. Often hoping for something to get better is the only thing that saves us from going under. This verse goes on to say that “hope based on something that we can see is not hope because if you can see it, then you do not have anything to hope for.”

Gardening is such a good example of this. We hope for flowers and sunshine. We wait and plan for it. I love verse 25 especially. It says, ” If we hope for things we do not see, then we wait with patience for it.” Gardening certainly teaches patience but that is another lesson for a different time. However, waiting out the winter is so much easier when there is a hope and a plan for spring.

This metaphor can be used in our lives as well. If you are going through a winter time of life, remember that God has given us a hope through Jesus Christ his son. In Matthew 6:28, Jesus even tells us to look to the flowers to understand that God watches over us. It makes me think that God gave us gardens as the ultimate symbol of hope. It could be no coincidence that God created a garden right away in the creation story.

Back garden in progress. There is a plan!