February 20, 2012

Psalm 9:18
The needy will not always be forgotten nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.

I learned the lesson of hope from my Magnolia Tree. This tree is the one tree that is always in my sight. I can view this tree from our living room couch and from my study. In fact the branches are so long they extend out and are in front of me as I type. I love that tree and like I said, it is from this tree that I have learned my greatest lesson on hope. What is it about that tree that was able to teach me? A Magnolia Tree is one of the first trees to bloom come spring. The flowers of the Magnolia are pink and white and beautiful. They have such a sweet scent and all the birds come to sit on its branches and sing. Then when the summer heat comes the flowers fall off, but the green leaves fill it out and the birds remain hidden singing and having babies. When fall comes the leaves turn colors and surrender themselves. The tree braces itself and prepares for winter, and here is the amazing part about this tree. On the branches you will see the buds that will open up come spring.

That is right, as the leaves fall off of the tree the buds for springtime are in place. This tree faces the short days, the long nights, the bitter cold, the wicked ice storms, and the heavy snow, all of it. The Magnolia holds its ground and retains its hope that regardless of what it will face in the winter, spring is right around the corner. Amazing lesson to learn from a tree don’t you think?
With the season of Lent now just days away, last week I talked about fasting and praying. I am fasting and praying for my husband Gary. Gary has an anoxic brain injury and his recovery rests in the hands of God. There is where I place my hope. Today’s Scripture tells me that God shall not forget me, and it is in Him I place my hope. My hope in Him shall never perish. I love this promise from God. Like the Magnolia tree, I want to face whatever season I am in but come my winter, and I am in my winter, I want to stand my ground and remain hopeful that spring is coming. Spring is coming and it kicks off with Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

During this Lent season I am going to fast and pray for Gary and ask God to heal Him fully and restore his memory. As of today Gary still has about a 10-15 year memory loss. He does not retain anything day to day. I was led by God to a new doctor who is currently testing Gary to see what might be the best course of therapy for him. I may learn that there is no therapy but only God and time. I don’t know, but that is not on what I am choosing to focus. As far as I am concerned, that is the winter storm I must face. I can succumb like the other trees and lose my leaves and let my branches break, or I can be a Magnolia and give birth to buds and hold them out for God to see that I am choosing to remain hopeful. Not hopeful in man, nor modern medicine, but in Him, the One who can heal Gary.

With that said, I may learn that God chooses not to heal Gary. Will I then wilt and let my buds fall to the ground? NO. The word of God I stand on today says that me, the needy, shall not be forgotten and that my hope will never perish. As long as there is breath in me I will choose to believe that God has for Gary and me a season of spring. What about you? What is it that you are going to fast and pray for? What is it that you hope for? As you head into the Lent season get a picture of a Magnolia and put it on your prayer book. Remind yourself that the Magnolia tree has hoped every fall that when winter is done there shall be a spring. Determine for yourself that you, too, will have hope– not in a tree or in the season but in the God who offers us hope. Let us pray:

Father, how wonderful it is that You choose the simple things of nature to delight and educate us, and I am so thankful for the Magnolia tree that I get to see and learn that my hope which is in You is worth hanging on to. This I pray in Jesus’ Name.
Hope springs eternal–can I get an Amen!


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