In the middle of all my gaming and literature nerdery, I somehow developed a desire to foster a green thumb. Chalk it up to all those hours I sunk into Harvest Moon, maybe? At any rate, I’ve become something of a “garden geek” in my adult years. (It’s totally a thing. Shush.)
While this hobby has stirred undue concern among my friends (I *only* own ten houseplants; there’s no need for y’all to nickname me the “crazy plant lady”), it’s had an unexpectedly edifying effect on how I approach Scripture and my personal prayer time, so I consider it worth the effort. Jesus did speak in green imagery to get more than a few points across, after all. For example:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” – John 15:5
There’s a simple enough command, right? And a perfectly understandable metaphor, even for those of us who don’t breathe heavily whenever we enter the gardening section at Home Depot. Jesus, as Redeemer and Life-Giver, is our endless source for spiritual growth.
But for some reason I still argue.
“Well yeah, but Jesus, let me just tell you: I’m no fruit-bearer. I don’t think I ever had the potential, really. I’m that stubby stick-branch at the bottom of the plant that died in poor weather conditions. Never even a leaf. Just a useless nub. You probably have no purpose for me.”
The wonder of Jehovah is He never answers like you expect. I anticipated the response: “Now, Amanda, don’t be a drama queen. You’re not really a dead stick, and you matter very much” (que sympathetic pat on the head to coddle my needy ego).
No, He’s too familiar with my tendency to dramatize. Instead, He brought to mind the clematis on my front porch (Do You love flora-focused object lessons, God? Maybe You just like to use them with me).
You were researching how to encourage more flowers on your clematis vine, God mentioned.
Yes, but that doesn’t have anything to do with this, so can we just—
Didn’t you learn where the vine can begin growing with new life?
I…might have seen something about that, but—
On the “dead” wood, I think it said.
Now that I give Him the victory for that argument (it’s, like, zero for a thousand now, God. Can You at least fake that I have a gift for debate?), I realize it’s not all that hard to believe the One who called corpses out to interrupt their own funerals can spur new life in a complacent stick like me.
It may sound silly, but I marvel every year when buds begin to unfurl from wood that’s been dull all winter. Just when you think the cold’s killed it all, there’s a new creation. And even as I look at my own rigid spirit and wonder where there’s any potential for use, as I remain in Jesus, he draws forth renewal.
I’ve yet to try fruit-bearing plants at my home, and I’m definitely no vintner working with grape groves; but whenever I see these deep-hued flowers bobbing on my garden hook, I marvel at the beauty God coaxes from the mundane.
I guess He’s got some pruning to do in me after all.
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