I’m still surprised every time a seed I have sown actually sprouts. The days leading up to their little green emergence are full of doubt and disbelief. “I guess they didn’t germinate,” I’ll think. Some of those seeds are so tiny and delicate, it’s hard to believe they stand a chance among the unpredictable elements. And every time those little green stems poke their head out of the dirt’s surface, I’m blown away. It’s a miracle. Every single time.
I clearly struggle to have hope for that which is not in front of me, which is not currently materializing before my very eyes. I look at almost every day of my life as if it were a cross-section of my whole life. If I’m not finishing graduate school or “flourishing” in my vocation now, it’s hard to believe that I ever will be. This is really quite silly because I know how much can change in the blink of an eye, how different I am now than I was a year ago, and how many of my desires have burst into fruition in ways I never would have expecteded. But even when I am planting seeds with an 80% germination rate, I still doubt a single one will sprout until I see those bitty buds.
All of this reminds me how powerfully subersive, underrated, and challenging it is to hope. To hope for redemption in broken situations, unanswered prayers, unspoken dreams, and even more so, in the healing of our fractured world. How do we hold onto hope when we are so aware of our own shortcomings and so informed of the world’s tragedies?
The garden reminds us that goodness, growth, beauty, and sustenance are available to us apart from our own striving, straining, and strategizing. Yes, in my garden, I planted the seeds, but in the larger garden of the whole earth, a bounty of wild edibles are produced without an ounce of human involvement. For me, I need this visual reminder of a larger kingdom truth: that miracles happen, in seeds, in hearts, in bodies, minds, and communities. Not always. Not in the ways we would necessarily expect. But they are happening. The redemptive work of God is active on the earth, even when we choose to not see it or take part in it. But oh, how much more beautiful and joyous when we choose to take part in it, celebrating the sprouting of every little seed,
that started out as hope.