Hope Wrapped in Crackly Skin

They might not grow here on the grassy hillside, we thought, but we planted in hope anyway. Driving trowels down into the ground, we made crevices just large enough to slip the tiny white bulbs into the damp earth among the grass roots. Then we let the turf spring back to cover them, and the hillside appeared unchanged. Grow, little plants, grow. Sleep well in your winter beds, but please come to see us in the spring.

Last fall my class at Faith Builders decided to plant spring bulbs for our class gift. We planted them all over campus—hundreds of bulbs that promised to splash springtime with riotous bursts of color. When the snow lay deep and the temperature dipped down below zero and winter winds howled, we thought of all those little bulbs and smiled. When robins played in the yard, and winter began to lose its grip, we searched for bits of green coming up through the soil. What joy to find them coming! The crocuses bloomed first, and we hovered over them like proud parents.

But I looked for those tiny glory-of-the-snow that we had planted on the grassy hillside, and I couldn’t find them. I thought they would bloom early, because why else would they be called glory-of-the-snow? But it was April, and these little babies still hadn’t showed up. Oh well, we had other flowers to enjoy. Still, I wanted to see if the snow glories would come up in the shape we had planted them. It had been a spur-of-the-moment idea. Someone suggested trying to write something like “FB” or “2014” by planting the bulbs in formation. We debated over it, but we were in a hurry to finish planting before supper and didn’t feel like trying anything elaborate. So we planted the bulbs in a simple cross formation instead.

Who knew that those little flowers would decide to come up and paint a purple cross on the hillside right before Easter? That’s exactly what they did, after I had almost given up on them. Those white, crackly-skinned little bundles of hope did not disappoint us, and there on the hill they created the symbol of the hope of all the world—the cross. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19).