Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hold on to Hope

Dear Readers:
Today I thought I would share a devotional that I wrote. I hope these thoughts and Scriptures bless you.

Hold on to Hope

By Marlene Depler

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galations 6:9).

Gardeners all have moments of weariness. They prepare the soil and plant seeds. They fertilize and water. Weeds are pulled until the back aches and perspiration drips. Gardeners may rest along the way, but they soon return to their toil. Why? Hope of harvest spurs them on even when they are tired. They anticipate slicing the first juicy tomato and cutting open a sweet watermelon. In time, their diligence and perseverance are rewarded.

Life is much like gardening. Doing the right thing and living well aren’t always easy. It takes effort to obey God. In the process, everyone experiences the malady of weariness from time to time. The cacophony of daily challenges and difficulties has a way of depleting energy. Physical or emotional exhaustion sets in. Efforts to serve may seem pointless. Weeds of discouragement take root.

Does this describe you? Are you worn out? Are you in the midst of something that has left you weary? Demands at work? Financial pressure? Health issues? Concerns over your children? Relational difficulties? Lack of appreciation for your ministry sacrifices? Have your best efforts failed to obtain the desired outcome? You are not alone.

God recognizes the human propensity towards giving up during seasons of weariness. He knows how easily hope is diminished and perspective is skewed. Thus, through the words of the apostle Paul, God encourages each believer not to give up. Because he knows that the heart craves hope, God reminds his children to refocus on the promise of an eventual harvest.

When the weariness sets in, know that it’s normal. Use it as a warning sign. You may be in need of rest. Jesus knew what his disciples needed when he said; “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). As we allow God to strengthen and refresh us, we can regain renewed vigor to continue loving, serving and giving. Once eternal perspective is regained, you can again eagerly await God’s promised harvest at the appointed time. Endurance eventually pays off. Hold on to hope!

Questions for reflection:

  • In what ways are you experiencing weariness or discouragement? 
  • What needs to be done to help to re-energize you? Rest? The encouragement of a friend? Renewed perspective on the promised reward?
  • Think of a past example of when perserverance paid off.
  • Within your circle of family and friends, who needs your words of encouragement right now?
Today: I will not lose hope. I will share this hope with a friend who is weary and in need of encouragement.

Additional References:

Isaiah 40:29-31

Matthew 11:28

Psalm 62:5

Romans 5:5

Hebrews 11:1

(c) Marlene Depler Permisssion required to reprint in any form.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Winter's Walk

by Marlene Depler

Winter days, long and cold: I hunker down within my walls.

I have little enthusiasm for going out and about.

Today the sunshine coaxes me to overcome my hesitation

to brave the cold. I pull on a second pair of socks,

my coat, and purple gloves, stepping outside under a canvas of clear blue.

Fresh, cold air fills my lungs. I watch my breath---

then fall into a pleasant rhythm: right, left, right left.

I find room for uninterrupted contemplation in this open space.

I think about dormancy in nature as I view leaftless trees and barren rose bushes---

then wonder if I am in my own season of dormancy.

I notice the contrasts around me: the soft, virgin snow and the hard, crusty ice,

turned brown from passing cars. And the never-fading evergreens with the bare-

branched variety. Life is filled with contrasts, I conclude. Joy and sorrow, pleasure

and pain, success and failure. On I walk alone with my thoughts, one thought

cascading into another, until I finally turn to follow my lengthening shadow home.

I haven't seen a singe critter, I muse. Where are the birds and squirrels and fox?

Just then I am startled by a bird huddles in a nearby barberry bush,

soon followed by a honking "V" of geese flying directly overhead.

I smile. I walk on in pleasant reverie. I arrive home invigorated.

I promise to rendezvous with myself for a winter's walk once again---and soon.

(c) Marlene Depler 20010