Green Hope

April 9, 2019
by JJ Ollerenshaw

Jeremiah 17:8 – He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (NIV)

My husband retired just before Christmas. Days later, we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. The whole month of December was a time of celebration.

What now? We are both in good health. God willing, we have at least another ten years — hopefully, twenty. His mother passed away at 94. My mother is 92 and still living alone.

Everyone asked my husband about his plans. Would we travel? That is certainly possible. We will no doubt visit my family in England. We enjoy warm places in winter. But we have no definite plans, no dreamed-of destination.

He was asked if he had a hobby. A musician, as well as an accountant, he plays with a praise team at church. His band provides classic rock entertainment for the occasional dance. He loves building: home maintenance in winter, improving our cabin in summer.

What about his bucket list? He shrugged: there is no bucket list. We have always taken opportunities and made the effort to do the things that we want. We returned to school, moved several times, farmed, renovated houses. There were dry, lean years. But we are satisfied and at peace.

Attention invariably turned to me. Warned that hubby would be bored and get in my way, I assured everyone that I had a long list of jobs for him to do. That finally satisfied them.

The truth is that we want only God's plans for us. Our hair may be white, but we have all kinds of experience and skills that God can use. We await our instructions!

Psalm 92:14 – They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. (NIV)

Romans 15:13 – Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (MSG)

Green is the colour of spring and things growing — the clean, fresh colour of new life, new beginnings. The production of green chlorophyll, essential for plants to use energy from the sun, is also dependent on light. If a plant is far from light, it loses its colour and eventually dies. In the same way, Christians must be infused with the life-giving energy of the Spirit.

Hope is a golden cord connecting us to heaven, a ray of sunshine after a long cold winter. We are like olive trees flourishing in the house of God, with deep roots in Living Water.

God does not allow us to retire from His work. Feeling old and tired, we should place our hope in Him.

Proverbs 11:28 – Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. (NIV)

Prayer: Father, You make us to lie down in green pastures; You lead us beside quiet waters and refresh our soul. Continue to use us, and may we bear fruit until our last breath. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie86@gmail.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May you do just that, JJ.


    Beautiful and full of praise. Thanks.


    O my, J.J. What a well-thought out inspiring piece. Congratulations.


    Amen JJ. Only to want God’s will is the only way to go!!!
    Blessings.


    May God bless you and your husband in your “retirement.”
    (Ontario)


    JJ, I pray you and your husband will find many opportunities for service in these wonderful years.


    Hi, JJ, that is such an upbeat, encouraging devotional you shared with us today. Thank you for brightening my day!


    Thank you, JJ, for reminding us that we still can be useful in God’s kingdom even when we are grey haired. Blessings.


    Hi,
    Thanks for this, interesting and encouraging. I knew I liked the color green for a reason.
    All the best!!


    Seems you have the right attitude. There is an “I’m retired, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do!” Attitude that can be a deadly trap! The bible speaks of the need for times of refreshment needed but “retirement” is a modern construct.


    Dear JJ, thank you for the hope that you and your husband share for your future with Jesus in your life. You have a wonderful way with words to inspire others. I will share this message of hope with others. Enjoy all the different shades of green that come with spring. Blessings


    Hello JJ,
    Thank you for this very positive and encouraging devotional. Lord’s blessings upon you and your husband as you go forward in doing God’s good works.
    (B.C.)


    My husband and I both retired in our early fifties. The Lord lead us to a new location, and we have been serving him in various wonderful ways over the past 18 years. What a blessing to be able to live for him and his kingdom! May you and your husband’s lives be truly blessed as you await his instructions,


    Thanks for these thoughts. Now 20 years into my retirement, I hit a wall last month and it has been a time of confession, rest and listening to God.
    Its now time for me to “Be still and know” every day.
    Bless you,
    (BC)


    Dear JJ and husband,
    There are a variety of ways to serve our Lord in retirement years.
    As a retired teacher, I spent two years voluntarily teaching small groups of children in Peru.
    My volunteer teaching freed parents from teaching their children so they had time to do more of the Bible Translation work for which they were trained.
    There is always a variety of work needing help here and abroad.
    I pray for God’s blessings for you in your retirement years.


    Thank you for your challenging devotional. Your reference to Jeremiah 17 and Psalm 92 clicked with me recently. You are surely blessed in establishing your goals and have such wisdom in looking to the future. I am 87 and appreciate your challenge. In the last few years I have been blessed in reading the Daily Lectionary Reading from the Presbyterian Church as well as the Proverbs and Psalms every day. The Word of God inspires us and reminds us of God’s love and His faithfulness.


    What a thought-provoking devotion and I love the visual of hope as a golden cord. We too are at the same stage as you. We are still farming but that is seasonal. Each day is different, and we are open to do what God wants us to do. If our daughter needs our help, off we go. I help lead a bible study. I help friends by driving them. Not big things but God is giving me the opportunity to serve and help. Thank you for your devotion. I find these devotions really help me see God in everything and you did that. Blessings to you.


    When my husband finally got to the point he could go to teacher’s College we had kids and 2 were in high school. He has worked in a factory for several years. Then the wait came to get a teaching job. Finally, I had to return a musical instrument to a friend. He asked about my husband’s interest in a teaching job. That evening he received a phone call to come for an interview tomorrow for a teaching job. He started immediately with 13 troubled kids.
    Of course, he has been retired for years and I did find in the Bible where it said when we get old, we will carried to places we might not want to be. I have found that older people are able to help others in different ways. We help when we can.
    (ON)


    So on the mark.
    Our Community Presbyterian Church is in the process of developing our (Green Space) grounds into “Community Serenity Gardens”. A small chapel, quiet space, Arbor, weddings, celebrations or just a place to stop and experience, with trees, shrubs, grasses, and a variety of flower gardens on the knoll facing our church.
    We have had a team working on outlining our available space to allow anyone to stop and contemplate, take a breath, read a book, etc.
    Our little church is just steps from the beach and Georgian Bay and are blessed with Ontario Parks surrounding us as our immediate neighbour.
    Our congregation average age is over 70 years young, and we are excited to be able to build something positive and relevant to each of us.

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