Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden Lessons: How Fragile We Are

I am back from my writing-blog hiatus. It'll be a slow journey, but here's to writing again:

This Spring I have decided to start a garden. My yard space is fairly limited, and there is not a great deal of sunlight along the side of the apartment. I know that I am going to have to be very intentional about where I place my planter boxes and sow my seeds.

When I started my seedlings at the beginning of April , I really didn’t know how long it would take for the plants to emerge from the soil. The seed packets gave an approximate time frame, but everything depended on a few key factors: the condition of the soil, the amount of moisture around the seeds, the intensity of sunlight and artificial lamp-light the seeds soaked in.

But then, after just a few short weeks, the first little shoots poked their heads above the soil! I felt such joy; they were growing! But then fear: would they survive? Some of my trays were showing signs of mold around the edges; others seemed to dry out so quickly. 

How fragile these little fighters seemed.

These last few weeks in the news, I have been unabashedly reminded of how fragile we are as humans. Maybe it’s the pictures of torn limbs and bloody hands from Boston, Bangladesh, and China; maybe it’s watching friends and family suffer hardships and pain. But I am certain it is the Lord rightly bending us towards humility. Not meekness among friends and co-workers, but true humbleness between us and God. We are fragile—He is strong.

There is a passage in Matthew where it says, “See how the flowers of the field grow? They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30) How precious is the creation to their Maker! 

As my seedlings continue to grow, I am sure they will encounter new challenges and barriers. Yet just as with us, their weaknesses heighten the beauty of redemption and growth. We would hardly need to celebrate Spring but for the joy of the growing process. Newness is a gift—one that only the Creator can sing into being. No amount of perseverance on a plant’s part will make it growth taller. It, and we, must be surrounded and surrendered to the rich soil, clear water, and glorious light of our Maker.
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