The older I get, the more God finds creative ways to speak to me. Right now it’s through my plants– an ever-expanding mini garden in my bedroom window. The process of planting seeds and watching them grow has brought endless amounts of joy, along with some beautiful God lessons. It is amazing to watch the growth in our lives be reflected by the physical representation of a few awesome little green plants.
To grow a plant it takes a seed, soil, water, and sunshine. With those 4 ingredients, you can get endless amounts of plants, but each seed has its own process and journey to make. Just like us, no seed is the same and no process is identical.
The Slow Grower
This is the seed that you plant with care, water regularly, and keep in the well-lit corner of your coffee table. You wait with anticipation, each day hoping to see a little bud break through the surface of the soil. And you wait… And you wait… You begin to wonder what is happening beneath the surface. Is anything actually happening below? Doubt starts to creep in. Did you do something wrong? Is the seed just a dud? Does the plant need more water? More sun? You have done everything according to the book, yet nothing seems to be happening. You are tempted to throw the whole thing away and give up on the little patch of dirt that seems unchanged since the beginning. But then, all of a sudden, there it is… a tiny little sprout, a hint of life, a little growth to show you that your faithfulness has been worth the wait. Your plant is finally growing! It will probably continue to grow painstakingly slow, but now you know and now you can see it with your own eyes – growth is definitely happening!
Sometimes life is like this – we plant seeds in our lives or in the lives of those close to us. We plant good seeds of self-esteem, joy, love, forgiveness, but each of those can take time. It is a beautiful journey in trusting God and his timing, of trusting that even when you can’t see a single tangible glimpse of something growing, you know that God is still at work. These seeds are faith builders. They require continual care when nothing appears to be happening.
It’s the friend who just cannot seem to grasp the fact that she is beautiful. You tell her every chance you get how pretty she is, inside and out. You keep watering the seed of self esteem and self worth, trusting that one day she will finally understand her beauty in a real way.
It’s the old man on the bus that you smile at every morning, yet his face seems to remain permanently stuck in a disgruntled grimace. You continue smiling each day trusting that one day the seed of joy you are planting will break the surface of his face with the most wonderful smile.
It’s God telling you over and over again that you are loved. Each day giving that seed a healthy dose of water and care, and then one day it clicks, the little sprout breaks through the surface and you finally begin to understand how much God really does love you.
The Fast Grower
These are a rare delight! It’s the seed that you plant on a Monday and by Wednesday there are tiny little shoots breaking through the surface of the soil. It seems to happen overnight, like the seed was magic. The plant continues to sprout and grow. It’s almost as if you can literally watch the little leaves growing taller and taller right in front of your eyes. This is the growth process that encourages you to continue on. It’s a gift, a faith booster, an almost instantaneous feeling of purpose and of a job well done.
These are beautiful moments in life – when something takes root so fast and so strongly that it can’t help but burst through the surface with an insane desire to grow.
It’s the rare, but amazing story of someone hearing about God the first time and deciding right then and there that they want to give their life to God. It’s powerful!
But more often than not, these faith boosters are smaller.
It’s the friend that walks into your house and immediately feels at home – welcomed and loved. You didn’t have to do anything special, but in an instant they are able to feel love in a way that they have not known before.
It’s the times when you hear a sermon or a teaching and a revelation drops into your spirit instantly. Something clicks in a very personal way and you know that your spirit has been longing for that revelation for some time.
The Sun Searcher
Then there are the plants that are growing fine and looking good. You planted a seed, you waited, and they’ve been through a slow and steady growth process, but then all of a sudden they begin to lean. The tall and strong stem begins to bend in a strange direction. Everything seems to be growing sideways. It’s a curious sight, but then you realize all your plant is trying to do is find more sun. It’s searching and longing for the light and stretching its leaves in whichever way it needs to find the source of light.
We have friends like this too, people that are so drawn to the light, and it’s written all over them. They know something is missing, they know there is something more out there, they know they need a source of light in their life. We have the opportunity to show them the way, to point them in the right direction and to help them get the light they so desperately need.
It’s the friend that has only ever known a religious and tyrannical God, but is so longing to be loved and know the Father’s heart.
It’s the friend that just can’t seem to stay on his feet. Life keeps knocking him down again and again and he is beginning to see that his own strength is failing him. He is searching for a foundation, something that won’t let him down, something that can sustain him.
It also happens in our own lives. When life gets busy and we find ourselves running to and fro frantically trying to get everything done. When something seems off and you realize it’s been way too long since you rested in God’s presence. Your body, mind, and spirit are all telling you to stop, take a moment for yourself, and sit with God.
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Our lives and the lives of those around us are all in the process of growing. To stop growing is to stop living. Be encouraged no matter the process. If it seems sooooo very slow, remember that God is faithful. If it seems quick, almost instantaneous, thank God for the gift of being able to tangibly see Him at work. If you need sun or know someone that does, position yourself to get it, or show them the way to the light. Soak it up and let it build you up to your full strength. Let it make you whole.
God is at work in all of us and it truly is a beautiful process when we stop and enjoy it.
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:6