Recently, I’ve been walking through some hard stuff with a dear friend. There have been so many tears, and just when I think they have ceased – it hits again. The other day, my friend quickly stopped by for an exchange of goods and we chatted in the driveway for a few, brief moments. As I divulged some hard, family things which I had held back for a few days, we looked at each other with a shared dis-belief and questioning. We hugged and I commented how it had been such a hard summer. Her response, “It’s been a hard three years.” I shook my head in agreement and drew a deep breath. Yes. Yes, it has.
Over the next few days, my thoughts visited that brief exchange and life over the past three to four years. But while planting some replacement blueberries in our u-pick field one morning shortly after, a sense of peace, hope and gratitude came over me. I was planting new blueberries in a variety that had really struggled, and experienced the greatest loss. Those first bushes were planted five years ago yesterday. They have a history. My husband and I have struggled with this group of plants, and their short, stunted growth reflects those challenges. It seems like we haven’t seen any progress in them for five years. Instead of thriving and increasing, they just sit and sulk.
I was ready to tear the whole lot out, when something changed. The struggle and patience has started to bear fruit! Not physical fruit that we would eat today (that comes next year) – but growth. It’s been so exciting to see that amongst the weeds and bug riddled leaves, we have new and healthy canes coming along. And they are big! Out of the entire field, these runts have begun to take heart with new canes easily seen over their neighbors. It’s an answer to prayer.
My friend’s words rang in my ear, “It’s been a hard three years.” as I prayed. “It’s been a hard five years with these plants. So much life has taken place in this space of time. But God, you are faithful and good. There will be growth and new life that springs forth from these heartaches the past two months. God, you will bear good fruit from these scars and wounds. We may not see it, understand it, or feel it for a long time – but I trust in who you are. I trust that you will bring beauty from these ashes. These blueberries have struggled to thrive, but you will redeem the time which seems lost and make whole what seems broken. Do the same for my friend and her family.”
That new growth was encouraging. It is new and lush, healthy and whole. What a reward for patience and wrestling. It will bear new fruit next year. But for now, I am happy to bask in the thrill of HOPE for these plants and my friend.
“For whatever was written in the former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (ESV)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 (ESV)