I dream of being a gardener. You know, one of those green-thumb, botanical life-givers who not only knows how to put plants in the soil and make them grow but who also knows how to keep them alive. Maybe even one of those people who can look at a single leaf and quickly rattle off the scientific name (otherwise known as the two-part binomial. Yes, I looked it up.).
Alas, my gardener dream isn’t likely to come true. Not only do the pace and responsibility of my day-to-day life with six children and a full-time job absorb the time needed for such an endeavor, I have an itty-bitty problem I can’t seem to overcome:
I kill green things.
It’s like I have poison in my fingers, and every green thing I try to grow ends up dead in my hands. In my defense, I’ve managed to keep every one of my offspring alive, which I celebrate with great joy. Thank You, Jesus. But plants? Flowers? Hanging baskets and herb gardens? I’m the caretaker of the dead. My house is a graveyard of gardening dreams.
Even so, every spring I drive myself to Home Depot and spend a small fortune buying annuals to plant around the outside of my house. Reds and purples, yellows and pinks. Pansies, petunias, impatiens and geraniums. The more color, the better. The more plant life, the better my life.
Until, of course, they die. As lovely as they are when I put them in the ground, they don’t keep their color — or life — for long, God help me. By July, the plants I so lovingly cared for gasp a final goodbye. My husband remarks with a smirk: “How about we take the money we spend on flowers and just throw it away? Skip the work and save time.”
“Hardy-har-har. Not funny,” I tell him. And then I get back to work digging the holes that will become my flowers tombs. No one can accuse me of a lack of effort or good intentions.
This past week, I was hanging out in the book of Mark, chapter four to be exact. And in this particular part of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus talks a lot about seeds and plants and keeping green things alive. Although I’ve read His words here multiple times, a new story caught my eye:
This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.
Mark 4:26-27 (NIV)
The kingdom of God is like the seed that grows, regardless of our understanding or attention. Its growth is guaranteed, its longevity, eternal. In other words, when it comes to spiritual botany, God is always at work even when we are not. And what He plants won’t end up a graveyard.
Lately, as I’ve watched the news and engaged in hard conversations with friends in places of suffering, my heart weighs heavy with all I don’t understand. At times, it appears as if life is withering and God is absent or uninvolved. I ache for this broken world filled with such pain. It seems everywhere I look I see death and destruction and disappointment. And I wonder if any good can come from so much that is wrong.
Can God bring life from what appears already dead?
And then I read Jesus’ words again. And I’m reminded that ours is a God of life, not death. He entered into the human experience, taking on mortality, so we would always, always have hope of new life.
He’s a Gardener of green things, living things. What He plants grows. What He nurtures thrives. What He loves blossoms.
So while I may never master my green thumb, I love a Master Gardener. He is tending His seeds even now, doing work I can’t see and performing life-giving miracles I’ll never comprehend. His kingdom is one that will never end. And that means, even when I sleep, I can rest. Because tomorrow will be filled with the color of new life.
What He plants grows. What He nurtures thrives. What He loves blossoms. - @MicheleCushatt: Click To Tweet