SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 2012
When Jesus walked this planet, He loved to convey the deepest heavenly truths with the simplest earthy examples. The vine and the branches. The fig tree. The parable of the sower.
And Jesus still delights in teaching us through the School of Nature!
He gave me a dead plant to prove it.
The Plant. It was browning around the edges. I poured myself into bringing it back to its original grand state. Does it have enough water? Too much water? Is it getting too much sunlight? Not enough? Maybe it needs plant food! I had even heard that playing classical music near a garden helps the veggies to thrive, so I cranked up Beethoven and Chopin to see if it was true.
But all of my efforts were futile.
The Plant was dying.
I tenaciously nursed it until all hope was gone. Eventually, there was absolutely no sign of life anywhere.
All I had was a dead stick protruding from the soil.
Reluctantly admitting defeat, I placed it in a cardboard box along with various items that I was not quite ready to part with.
I thought, “At least I’ll salvage the pot and soil for another time.”
Tucking the box in a dark storage room, I turned and walked away.
Fast forward to a year or so later. Rummaging through our basement, I came across the box. Curious to see what I had put in there, I began pulling the salvage out layer by layer.
Was I ever surprised when I got to the bottom level of potential “throw-aways” and saw a hint of GREEN popping from the crusty soil!
What? How can this be? This little guy hasn’t had a drink of water nor a speck of sunlight for well over a year!
Staring in disbelief, I touched it, thinking it might be a scrap of paper that just “looked” like a little nubbin.
It wasn’t paper.
It was a nubbin!
A favorite passage flooded my mind: Jeremiah 17:7-8. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For [she] shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought nor will cease from yielding fruit.
My God is a big God.
He provided water from a rock!
He spoke light into existence!
How hard would it be for Him to provide light for this castaway lying at the bottom of a darkened cardboard box?
Not hard at all.
He did it.
I can identify with this little lesson from nature. I’ve been there myself a few times in my life.
But God. (My favorite two words in the English language.)
Isn’t it true that He specializes in restoration? Regeneration? New life? That is my God! The One who causes our withered and wilted souls to flourish — even in the year of drought.
I brought this speck of life upstairs and tried my best not to hover over it (as much as I wanted to)! After all, hadn’t God taken care of it in the worst of conditions?
I considered the lilies of the field … how they grow. They neither toil nor spin.
Could I not trust Him to complete the work which He had begun in this little sprout?
Here is the answer to that question:
The plant reminds me every day of God’s care.
He feeds the birds of the valley.
He clothes the grass of the field.
He specializes in making something out of nothing.
Is this not encouraging?
Whether we see Him or feel Him or not, He is carefully attending to our every need.
He tells us in Jeremiah, “Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall sorrow no more at all … For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them and make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of [my chosen] with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness.”
He wants to rain down all that He has for us, so much so that our hearts will rejoice, even in sorrow.
Do you want to be a plant in His garden? Not an ordinary plant, but a flourishing, healthy plant? One that shouts of His love and reflects His glory? I do!
If we stop “hovering” over ourselves – i.e., die to ourselves — and let Him be Lord (He is anyway!) — then we WILL flourish!
Did my dead little plant sit in the dark, wringing it’s hands with worry over what was going to happen to it?
No. It just … “was.”
And while it “was,” God’s life-giving force flowed naturally into its withered, lifeless stem.
What a miracle! What a lesson!
Sometimes I have felt like this parched plant. I can think of three times in my life when I was sure I was on the brink of death from the anguish of my heart.
But all three times, my faithful God poured down showers of grace and burst through the darkness like a torch in a cave … …and to whom much is given, much is required.
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine! I have to tell others of His mighty works (Psalm 40:1-3).
Have clouds eclipsed your sun? His Light dispels the darkness.
Are you wandering in the wilderness in search of water? There is a Well.
Remember … The Plant.