by Sarah Freymuth
Hope: that long-buried seed you forget about because it’s dormant. Hearing nothing, seeing less.
Weeks pass, then months, and you get used to the feeling of emptiness, a lack of expectation. It becomes your regular as you begin to wonder if this will be reality.
Has the frost destroyed the soil of your heart? Will this always be the way, living muted, on autopilot, surviving day by day?
You even wonder whether God intends for this new normal and long for His presence and love that seems to lack.
Where, in these barren fields, is He?
This winter doesn’t seem to end, even when the first days of spring officially arrive. The ground is still frozen, grass lay brown and brittle, miles of bare branches and zero signs of life. Snow and sleet still pour down, relentless, and the cold is a constant companion.
You get used to the monochrome.
But you cannot underestimate the determination of the seed, deep buried underground. It is meant to do what it was made for; it listens to the One who first dropped it into the earth of such a fledgling heart.
Though it tarries, wait. You cannot rush the work, the becoming. You do not know when or how, but that is not up to you, anyway.
Perhaps that seed you wait on is waiting on its own orders, its own cultivation.
Hope grows slow. An important metamorphosis is happening in these slogging, messy months and it cannot be rushed. God is all seasons and shaping and for deep and good transformation, and He does not adhere to time like how you cling to it. For Him, the seed is hidden in a safe place, nurtured, protected from the elements until it is ready for release.
God has been saving you.
God has been savoring you.
God has not stopped caring for you every step of the way.
Even on those days of bleak sunshine and biting winds, He’s wrapped you in the warmth of His wings and held you close, pressed that seed in His palm and put it into its proper place.
You want results, and the wait is excruciating. The belief begins to wane, light at the end of the tunnel shrinks. Where do you search when there are no answers to find? The lack of reason drives you mad, but the process is the point. Him, coming close. Working deep below and within to coax that seed awake again. Subtly. You don’t even recognize it, until one morning, you glance out the window and notice there is green grass again, small spouts from the soil, catch a line of a song a bird is singing.
You blink, disbelieving. How is there blue in the sky? Has the earth beneath it softened? You step into the wide landscape to check, still shocked, tilt your head to see.
Light has broken through.
That little seed has survived, has made it through the cold and nights and cold nights that cloistered, the fear of dying and decay.
Hope grows slow. That means it grows.
There is movement, after all, a birth and surfacing. Sunlight in the soil, misplaced, long-awaited for but right on time because it is His time He set for it to be.
The surprise of it knocks you back a bit, breathless. But the beauty brings you forward, bending close to examine what pushes up into the world.
Hope grows slow. But hope is here.
Like the resurrection, you are raised to life anew.
Make peace with the process. Planting takes time, cultivation, longer still than you’d like. There is always something beneath the surface, even when it lies quiet and stagnant for what seems like forever.
And, in time, it breaks through, subtle and soft, tender, true.
Slowly, hope stirs. Slowly, your heart shifts. Slowly, you are becoming.
Sarah Freymuth writes at the intersection of beauty and the everyday while grappling with God’s goodness when life projects otherwise. She is a lover of the contemplative and creative, is a member of Redbud Writers Guild and the Proverbs 31 Contributor Team, writes for nonprofit organizations, is the editor of Awake Our Hearts, and enjoys her simple Midwest life in Wisconsin. You can connect with her at www.sarahfreymuth.com