Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)
TITLE: The Sad Man Fern
By Ellen Carr
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This has been a summer of heat and fire. Soaring temperatures have hit gardens hard and plants have died. Our lawn is yellow-brown and it crunches as I walk on it. No-one waters lawns any more; it is all we can do to keep our vegetables and ornamental plants alive.
But something much more serious than dry lawns and dead-ended ferns has happened to the north of my city and out to the east. Many homes have been burnt to the ground, and still further out, animals have died and fences have been burnt. Many lives have been traumatised.
My fern, with its brown-ended fronds, reminds me of the loss and hardship that others are experiencing. My own discomfort in days of searing heat, and my garden's struggle to survive, pale into insignificance in comparison.
I know, from past experience, that my man fern will send out tentative, baby fronds when the heat has passed. It will reassert life over death. It will rise above its adversity because God has given it the power to do so. He has built survival into its being.
But how do we fare when we face difficulties, when things don't go the way we think they should? How do we cope with events and issues that sap our strength? Do we give up and let ourselves shrivel and wither?
When difficulties come upon us and our hope is choking, we, like the fern, can put out new shoots. We can claim the strength and power God promises us. We can allow him to renew our hope and start us growing again.
"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)
* Dicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern, man fern) is a species of the evergreen tree fern, native to parts of Australia.
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