For my birthday this year my lovely secret pal at school got me this beautiful plant, which was perfect because I love plants. It had these big gorgeous pink blooms with a mixture of greens in the bottom. I kept it in my classroom, and my kids and I enjoyed it and cared for it there.
The problem was, I struggled keeping it alive. The reason for the problem: I didn’t know exactly how to care for it. Sometimes I didn’t give it enough water. Sometimes I gave too much. Maybe not enough sunlight. I tried cutting some of it back. It was a struggle. Everything I tried seemed to fail in the end. I ended up bringing it home. Continued caring for it. It ended up dying.
I put it outside on my back deck to be thrown away.
I depend on instructions when caring for a plant. Those nice little tags that they stick in the dirt tell you how much sun they need, how much water they need, whether they need to be indoors or outdoors, how big they will get and all that good stuff.
I believe this flower was from a flower shop of some kind so it didn’t come with instructions.
I was very frustrated because I, like my mother, love plants and enjoy caring for them and seeing them grow and change. And I felt like I had failed. Y’all I even tried to research this plant even though I had no idea what it was called.
I looked outside one day at this plant that I had thrown out. It was brown, withered, and hopeless looking…
all except for this one green sprout.
The green grew.
Days, weeks, months passed.
The green continued to multiply.
Y’all, this plant was dead for weeks before I gave up, and put it on the deck.
**Side note: Turns out the plant is extremely low maintenance… it needs direct sunlight and rainwater is sufficient. Figures! Ha!
But oh, my goodness, what a lesson. I assumed this plant was dead. I saw nothing in it. I had given up hope completely. I was going to throw it in the trash.
”But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5
God sees us. He sees us when we are withered, lifeless, and hopeless, when we are ready to give up, when we see ourselves as good as trash, and I believe He says to us, “Come, I am doing something you cannot see. It is good. I am making it beautiful. Life is here! I am bringing something new.” (My paraphrase)
It’s like in Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
God is not done. He is working, and He is near. I don’t have the specific instructions I want sometimes, and that can be frustrating when I have my hands gripped tightly around a part of my life, especially if it is not going the way I want it to go. And my instructions that I make up are absolutely worthless.
BUT I know with my whole heart that God provides and delivers in ways I could never imagine or dream, and I need that reminder all the time. Sometimes I look for something specific in the distance, but I am missing a whole new beautiful thing that is right before me. Sometimes, it is as small as a sprout, and so we need to lean in close so that we can see.
“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD, all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.” Psalm 27:4
Hold fast to His Word. Lean in. Enjoy life with the Father in the middle of the valley or the peak of the mountain. He is nearer than you think.
Come, Lord. We need you.