By Sarah Geringer, Crosscards
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23 (NLT)
Even on the grayest late-winter days, I find signs of hope at the base of a mighty oak tree.
Because I battle a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder, the last thing I want to do on a freezing February morning is venture outdoors. I’d much rather stay bundled up with my hot tea, Bible, blanket and fuzzy socks. But since my dog, Memphis, nudges and paws at me while begging for his daily walk, I put on my cold gear and clip on his leash.
Memphis and I travel a familiar path passing by a oak tree whose gnarled roots are covered in ferns — a welcome bright spot against the dry, dead leaves.
Since the ferns’ root systems are shallow, they cling to the tree’s base for strength against chilly northern winds. Their fronds look delicate, yet these ferns are resilient when battered by rain, ice and snow. They are a testament of strength in harsh elements.
Those tightly clinging ferns remind me of our key verse: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10:23).
In this chapter, the writer of Hebrews is referring to an eternal picture of hope: the Most Holy Place in heaven, where we can boldly enter God’s presence through prayer and receive a fresh infusion of hope as often as we need it.
But if you’re like me, maybe hope has eluded you most of your life. Though I have always believed in God, I spent many years in survival mode against some personal challenges. I was fighting so hard to stay afloat emotionally, I had no room to let hope in. When I dared to look toward the future, I saw cloudy gray, but very little evergreen.
Several years ago, God began reorienting my vision. Through daily Bible study, He taught me how much He loved me, no matter what lies I believed about myself. In the counselor’s office, He helped me work through the hurts of my past, which took me out of survival mode. In new friendships with godly women, He healed my wounds from broken relationships. Then God showed me how to thrive in prayer, using hope in His promises as my anchor.
Just as the little ferns cling to the much-bigger tree for strength, I have learned to cling to God when I need hope. He’s always waiting for me in my prayer room, delighting to wrap me in the embrace of His presence. He renews my vision with hope, which is green with abundant life in every situation.
Sometimes I imagine God planted those ferns at the base of the oak tree just for me. He uses them to remind me to fill my mind with the truth of His Word each day.
God wants me to delight in the hope they represent … the promise of spring even on the coldest days. He uses the ferns to direct my praise toward Him, the One who uses anything He wants to draw us closer and give us new hope.
Father God, I praise You for tucking signs of hope into this season. Open my eyes to see them, Lord. Help me hold tightly to hope in Your promises when I’m tempted to worry about the gray areas in my life. May Your hope be evergreen in my heart and mind. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.