Last year, I started chopping up a shrub in the garden that I thought had died. It sounded rattly and didn’t look that appealing. It turns out that this is what it normally looks like in the winter. Oops. It was not dead, although I was giving it the opportunity to head in that direction. Thank goodness someone with more gardening knowledge than me stopped its demise. This year, the shrub is looking healthy and it was spared from my lack of knowledge and careless cutting.
There are times that we can look and feel a bit like that shrub in winter. On the outside, things might not be looking so great in our life. But to the well-trained eye (those who know us well), we are going through a difficult season. We are still planted and we will blossom again, but perhaps for a while, life might be like a rattly, tangled mesh of branches.
In winter seasons of life, there is work going on beneath the surface. Like the roots underground, our hearts can be watered by the words found in the Bible – God’s Word for us. Sometimes, we may forget to water the plants and likewise we might forget or choose not to soak up the richness found in the Bible. The Bible is like a faithful gardener that waters the soil of our heart, prunes us through trials to help with growth and gives light to enable us to flourish. If we neglect to spend time reading it and letting it speak to us, we will slowly dry up spiritually.
We may think that we can get along fine without reading the Bible, but really we are like flowers waiting to be purchased from a supermarket. Pretty at first, but with only a few days to be at our best. Why be a supermarket flower, already cut and dead, that will eventually wilt away and be forgotten? There is a beautiful alternative. You can have access to Jesus who gives us an abundant life and the promise of eternal life when we turn to Him.
Jesus said in John 15:4 ‘Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.’ So where are we planted? Where are we placing our roots? What soil are we in? There will be seasons in life where we may not understand what is going on. Like a seed in the ground, we are in the dark. Even though we cannot see what goes on beneath the surface, transformation is taking place. That little seed is planted and begins to shoot forth. In the dark times of our life let us be watered by God’s Word as our hearts are transformed little by little. When we remain in Jesus, we will be fruitful.
Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith. Elisabeth Elliot