27th April - Thought For The Day - Hope For The Future
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Words by Bev Jones
Hope For The Future
There is apparently a strange forest of oak trees on the Swedish island of Visingo. It’s strange because oak trees are not indigenous to the island, and the fact that the forest was there at all was a mystery. For more than a century its origin was unknown, and then in 1980, the Swedish Navy received a letter from the Forestry Department advising that their requested ship timber was ready. The Navy weren’t even aware that it had ordered any timber, so set about undertaking a little historical research. It was discovered that in 1829, the Swedish Parliament, recognising that it takes oak trees 150 years to mature and anticipating a shortage of timber at the turn of the century, ordered that 20,000 oak trees be planted on Visingo, and protected for the Navy.
That’s long - term planning in action!
Even though warships are now made of very different materials, you have to admire the resolve of a government that was trying to anticipate what future generations would need.
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič via Unsplash
In Northern Ireland at one of the Vineyard churches last year, they put together a hundred-year mission plan, recognising that it’s as much about the legacy they leave for future generations, as it is about what goes on now in the church. I guess though that anyone who has a heart for a harvest that won’t be reaped in their lifetime, will be blessed in the current time also as they lay down foundations for a future where they expect that God will work in mighty ways.
We are part of an ‘immediate’ culture these days, where people expect things to happen quickly, and don’t want to wait or be patient. Even during this current crisis, we see people getting frustrated at not being able to do what they want, when they want, and calls for ‘exit strategies’ before we even know whether we’ve reached a turning point or not. How important then that we are able to wait on God, trusting that His timing is perfect, and that in Him is the hope that so many need both now and in the days and years ahead.
Whether we have a hundred and fifty year plan, a hundred year vision, or just a simple desire to see God move in this nation through his Holy Spirit, we have to be willing to wait in His presence and hope.
Photo by Tyler Milligan via Unsplash
Perhaps we need to articulate what our hopes for our communities, our churches and our land actually are, and then wait before God in prayer, recognising as John Sentamu puts it that,
‘’what we need isn’t great faith, but faith in a great God. A God who makes the impossible possible.”
‘The blessedness of waiting is lost on those who cannot wait, and the fulfilment of promise is never theirs. They want quick answers to the deepest questions of life and miss the values of those times of anxious waiting, seeking with patient uncertainties until the answers come. They lose the moment when the answers are revealed in dazzling clarity.’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Bev Jones