Do you want to know the secret of living to a ripe, old age?
I’ll give you a hint: you’ll need some dirt.
Plant yourself a garden!
Okay, there might be a few other factors involved, but studies have shown there are great health benefits for senior citizens who tend gardens.
The physical exercise required to grow a garden is beneficial, of course. And fresh produce is a healthy addition to one’s diet.
But the biggest benefit has to do with anticipation.
You see, there’s much to look forward to in growing a garden. In spring, the ground is prepared and seeds pressed into the fertile soil. Weeks pass as the gardener anxiously awaits the first appearance of tender young shoots breaking through into warm sunlight.
In summer, the gardener tends her growing plants–watering, weeding, keeping away pests–as she looks forward to harvest time. In autumn, she enjoys the tasty goodness of her labor, sharing the bounty with family and friends.
And in winter? Well, that’s the time to pour over seed catalogs, planning for next year’s garden.
No matter what season it is, there’s always the next step to look forward to.
And looking to the future with anticipation helps a lonely heart get through the long, cold nights of winter.
In my own life, I’m aware how anticipation can change my attitude and energy level in an instant. I’ll be driving home Friday evening, utterly exhausted after a huge work-week at my daycare. I feel as if I barely have the energy to drag myself up the porch steps into my house.
Then the phone rings. My sister-in-law’s voice carries excitement.
“Do you want to go see a movie tonight? And go out to eat? Your boys can hang out over here with my guys.”
Instantly, energy races through my body like an Ozark squirrel skittering across the road. I bounce up the stairs and breeze into the house.
“Okay, everyone! Get yourselves ready! We’re going out!”
What happened? The anticipation of an evening out filled me with energy.
The truth is, life isn’t always easy. Sometimes our worlds shatter, and we barely have the strength to make it through our broken days.
Broken relationships, broken bodies, broken finances, broken futures.
How do we get through all the broken stuff? How do we find strength for today when life’s outlook seems so bleak?
By looking forward to the future with anticipation.
You see, for the Christian, the best is always yet to come.
God promises everything we need to get through the hard times. He offers comfort in heartache, strength in weakness, provision in need, and hope in darkness.
And best of all, He promises a future so bright we can’t imagine it:
A home in heaven with Him for all eternity.
No more sorrow, pain and disease. No more broken relationships, betrayal, or disappointment. No more bills to pay or bank accounts to worry about. All of the pain and heartache of this world will be behind us, less than a distant memory.
How can you find strength to face today?
By anticipating what God has for all your tomorrows.
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. and he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light upon them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
(Revelation 7:13-14, 16-17)