Monday, September 10, 2012

God's Green Thumb

I said last Friday that I like to take pictures of flowers, like the ones I include throughout this post.
Who doesn’t like flowers? Their beauty and variety never cease to amaze me whether in nature while I’m taking a hike or in a store observing the artistic arrangements of talented, creative people. I’d venture to say that most people can appreciate the beauty of a bloom and marvel at its splendor.
But how many of us stop to consider the struggle of growth that had to occur before a bloom was produced? A seed is buried, dies, sprouts, and grows by millimeters before reaching the point of budding and producing a flower or a piece of fruit. It takes TIME and during every second something happens that is crucial to development, even if we can’t see it happening or see the results.
Many places in the Bible compare our spiritual growth to plant growth. In fact, the two follow the same ‘growth’ principles. And just like I love flowers while hardly ever thinking about the process it took to make said flower, I long for, beat myself up about and search for flowers in my spiritual walk without often considering the process of producing spiritual fruit.
What I’m trying to say is – everyone wants flowers, few want the process it takes to get the flowers.
I know when we’re talking natural gardens, I am NO green thumb. I don’t know if it is ignorance, impatience or neglect that have caused all my growing attempts to fail, but I just can’t seem to tend a plant properly – at least not to get to the stage of flowering.
Ignorance, impatience and neglect can get us derailed in our spiritual journeys as well. When we don’t see results right away, we can get frustrated and give up or let up – either way impeding the necessary tending it takes to get to the flowering stage. Often times, we even raise our fist at God for not producing the desired result in our lives.
I’m rereading a devotional right now called The Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford. The second chapter is about time. I wish I could just copy the whole chapter right here. But one of the first, starkly honest statements he makes is – God is not in a hurry. Not only that, but since our spiritual growth follows the same principles as natural growth, we can be assured that the process of producing spiritual flowers will take TIME. Furthermore, there are no shortcuts. Burial, death, sprouting, development all must take place FIRST. We can’t skip that part. Doing so would prevent the flower.
God has so much more in mind for us than we expect for ourselves. Our perspective is affected by so many temporary and distracting things that encourage us to give up when we don’t see anything happening. I’ve even been witness to a few churches that promote (willingly or not) this world view. The trick is doing what God has asked us to do on a daily basis and allowing Him the reins for results. He knows what He is doing. Just look at the magnificence of the flowers in these pictures. THIS is His intended result for you. Allow Him every necessary step to produce it. You won’t be sorry.
Have a beautiful week, Dry Ground friends. Be blessed!
(photos by yours truly!)