Hope in God

IT was the worst springtime freeze in our area for over thirty years. As temperatures slid to critical lows, Dad and I speeded around the family orchard. But our frost-protection efforts weren't enough. Sprinkler heads quit rotating, branches were snapping under the weight of ice, blooms were freezing--the apple crop was vanishing before our eyes. But I refused to resign myself to a long season of despair and frustration. Instead, I started to pray.

God, omnipresent good, is capable of meeting all our needs--and in ways we haven't even thought of. It comforted me to realize that God was our source of supply, not that lost apple crop. And I remembered the many examples the Gospels give us in the Bible of Christ Jesus' trust in God to supply what was needed--not just for himself or his disciples, but for multitudes!

A quotation from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, caught my attention as I prayed. She assures us: ``God never punishes man for doing right, for honest labor, or for deeds of kindness, though they expose him to fatigue, cold, heat, contagion'' (p. 384).

The crop loss was not a punishment or bearer of some harsh lesson we needed to learn. Life and happiness are born of Spirit, and are readily found when our faith in the things of the world is replaced by well-founded trust in God. What God gives us is permanent and spiritual. It can never be lost.

When our orchard was inspected after the freeze, experts confirmed that the crop was spoiled. We adjusted our budget expectations accordingly. But I'd already learned a spiritual lesson, and I continued each day to look to God for supply. And, delightfully, I found it in understanding adequate supply to be the effect of God's boundless love for man. Instead of fretting over a budget apparently awash in red ink, I rejoiced in knowing God provides abundance and counted our many blessings.

This quotation from the book of Jeremiah in the Bible painted a vivid picture of what I was expecting: ``Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit'' (17:7, 8). I could see that the cold and frost we were experiencing had no more power over God's creation than the heat and drought Jeremiah speaks of. And I took his words as a promise that we'll never be deprived of anything good when we put our hope and trust in God.

Two weeks after the freeze we found the totally unexpected taking place in the orchard. Buds were opening and forming into apples. The late bloomers had been present all along but were tightly closed during the freeze and suffered no damage. No one had even noticed them. Our belief of loss had kept us all from seeing what should have been obvious all along.

There weren't many apples on each tree, but each grew to larger-than-usual size. Bushels per acre were considerable, apple prices were high, and the crop was profitable beyond all expectations. Most of all it was knowing God had never forsaken us that gave us reason to rejoice. Apples or not, we knew we would have been cared for.

Learning to trust God has made it easier to find ``blooming buds'' where there seemed to be nothing but loss. The certainty of God's ever-present good opens our eyes to the one source of supply that never fails: God Himself.

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