it’s not the one who plants or the one who waters

This year I have taken notice of the many metaphors with plants and growth. 

I have written about my own Failure to Thrive and the important repotting process. I have written about how you can have All the Right Moves, and sometimes the process ends up being more important that the product. I have written about how the Conditions of Soil can mimic the conditions of our hearts. I have written about the Very Things a Plant Needs are the same things my soul needs too. I guess this year, I just can’t seem to get away from those agricultural connections.

*****

As a military spouse, I am constantly inundated with admonitions, imagery and advice to “bloom where I am planted.” I’ll be honest, I get really tired of that over-used metaphor. Because let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t live any place long enough to bloom. Sometimes the entire span of your time-on-station at one place is only time enough to dig in the dirt, plant some seeds and maybe water the tiny seedlings before it’s time to yank up those delicate roots.

I’ve only done this a small, handful of times thus far in Ryan’s career, but I admit, it is always pain-staking, brutal and tough on the emotions. It scares me to death that Ryan could make a career out of this chaplaincy thing and I won’t have the stamina for more uprooting.

Sometimes you do the work, you till and dig and plant and tend but orders come, PCS season sneaks up on you and the moving truck is rolling out of town long before you see any blossoms, buds or shoots.

The long and short of it? It sucks.

Thankfully, God can use the sucky things of life to shine a light on his goodness and faithfulness.

*****

We were out of town visiting family all of last week. With spring in full swing in the Southeast, we came home to find a pleasant surprise. A few of our roses decided to peek out and make their debut.

When I saw these blooms, I got a little choked up. Okay, I got a lot choked up.

 

photo 3

 

My heart almost couldn’t take the joy this simple sight brought me. You see, we don’t own this house. We are renting it for the duration of our time in Georgia. This house is almost 15 years old. I didn’t plant these roses. I haven’t even cared for or tended to these roses. And yet, because of the work and labor and love of someone who came before me, I am able to enjoy their beauty.

This scene resonated with me and I immediately thought of a beautiful, poignant reminder in Scripture…

“Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.” {The Message, I Corinthians 3:5-9}

Try as I might to manage and handle and control all of the conditions of planting myself or watering myself or praying for a blossom or bloom , it’s not me who is at the center of this process.

God.

It is God who makes things grow.

*****

The next time I’m down and out about feeling lonely in a new place or saying goodbye before it feels like my time is finished somewhere, I’m going to take a moment and ponder my position in all of this.

God makes things grow.

I can rest and rejoice in the truth that my own faithfulness and obedience plays only a (small) part. The power to produce and cultivate and swell with beauty only comes from life in Christ.

He makes beautiful things.

https://youtu.be/1spkhp41ig4

(Gungor)

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at allYou make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

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5 thoughts on “it’s not the one who plants or the one who waters

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