I’ve been mulling over the subject of this post for a couple of weeks now, having taken some time off for the Great Fast and then trying to catch up on some other things. As I look at the yard and the flower beds around my house, I notice that although the same things come back year after year, nothing looks exactly the same as it did in previous years.
I have tulips in a long, narrow bed along the rear wall of my house. The year I moved in we planted 25 bulbs, scattered evenly in the soil. The following spring about 15 of them bloomed, and over the past few years they have increased and though I haven’t counted them this spring, last year I had 50 blooms. Maybe this is how our souls grow…..God plants the seeds of grace in us, and if the soil is fertile the seeds will germinate. I believe that only in rare cases does a soul go from infancy in the spiritual life to maturity – this kind of growth takes time and if probably pretty much impossible. If we plant 25 tulip bulbs it would be silly to expect 50 tulips the very next spring! But with proper care and nurturing, those 25 bulbs can multiply to 50 in a relatively short time.
So it may be with our souls?
Those seeds are planted in many different ways; by family and friends; by circumstances and experiences; by prayer, fasting and almsgiving…..sometimes it takes a while for them to germinate. Maybe soil of our souls is not as fertile as it ought to be, or maybe it hasn’t been tilled enough by life – and living – for the seeds to bear any fruit at all. But I think that at some point when I look back upon where I have been and where I am now, I see the Gardener…..cultivating, rooting out weeds of indifference and discouragement, pruning off the suckers of pride and fertilizing the new green shoots of humility and obedience to His will.
At the corner of my lot there is a small triangular bed where I have tried, without much success, to grow various things in differing seasons. Two years ago I frustratedly crammed into the ground about 12 daffodil bulbs given to me by someone who thinks I have more space than I actually do, for flowers. Last spring they came up but none of them bloomed; this year two of them have blossoms.
We can be given gifts that nourish our faith by those who don’t even realize what they are doing. In some seemingly random comment, a magazine article forwarded through email, a card in the snail mail, God in His infinite wisdom and goodness send what He knows we need, before we can identify the need ourselves. After a time it takes root and we remember, thinking “if it hadn’t been for _______________ I would never have ___________________” and if the eyes of our souls are open we see that God has taken care of us once more.
I enjoy the digging, weeding, deciding what to grow, planting, cultivating and harvesting, but in these flower beds I have a chance to watch God at work. How very blessed I am, and how utterly unable to ever thank Him enough for caring for me the way He does.
I leave you with a picture: