Monday, June 30, 2014

The Mystery of Growth

When I pray about a problem or a struggle, too often I find myself expecting God to simply step in and fix things.  I expect the fixing to be immediate, and I expect it to be painless and effortless on my part.  I watch for a flash of lightning at the end of my prayer that either gives me the solution or whips me out of the situation I'm unhappy with.

This flash of lightning rarely comes.

I've been working in my garden this spring.  I don't know what I'm doing.  I've never had a green thumb.  But I figure since I have some space now and extra time on my hands I might as well see if I can do something constructive with it.

But it's discouraging. 

I planted nasturtium seeds, sweet peas, and marigolds, which I've heard keep out the garden pests, but none of them have sprouted. 

I put in three tomato plants two weeks ago and they haven't grown an inch.

Other people have zucchinis already and I only have wisps of green shoots just starting to push up through the cold soil. 

My rhubarb is spindly and my pumpkin plants have maybe three leaves each. 

Yesterday I got frustrated and went to the garden store.  I bought a hanging tomato plant loaded with blossoms, and a dozen or so potted flowers already lavishly adorned with pretty pink and purple flowers.  My deck looks lovely. 

I plunked eighteen pre-grown marigolds down in my vegetable garden, on top of the seeds that never sprouted and in the middle of a row of carrot seeds I'd forgotten my grandson had planted a week ago.   The garden looks better too.  At least there's some color now.

I'm not giving up on the seeds, mind you.  Every day I'll go out and check to see if they've come up.  But some of the enthusiasm has dampened.  I don't know if there will be enough left to motivate me to pull the weeds, which are flourishing, when they begin to smother the rows of chard and arugula.

But I suspect there's a lesson here. It has occurred to me that God's creation of the world, and of us, was not simply an event.  It was, and is, a progression of events.  Some of the events are so small and seemingly insignificant we don't even notice them.  These small events overlap and run together so mysteriously we can't fathom how they are working, and sometimes it looks like they aren't.  

But they are working.  Growth inevitably happens, in the soil and in our lives. 

It's another great and wondrous godly mystery.

Instead of whining that He's not answering my prayers when I see no immediate change or feel no instant relief, I need to choose to believe things are happening, even when I can't see them.  I need to look for the little rays of hope and light that He might be trying to give me in the process--the green shoots just beginning to poke their little heads through the soil.

And I need to act on the rays of light he gives--to participate with Him in the working out of the process.  I need to be willing to change, and to let the process run its course in me.

God, please help me with the green thumb business.  Help me to trust in the mystery of growth, to remember to water the garden, and be motivated to pull the weeds.  And help me to remember where my grandkids have planted their little seeds so I don't mess up the process of their learning about growing things.


Kathleen said...

Sweet post. I could have written it myself. I too am struggling to make my garden grow!

Ginny Jaques said...

That's encouraging, Kathleen. I thought I was the only garden struggler. Should have known better. I bet there are a lot of us out there.