“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.” - Ezekiel 37:12b
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds onto life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” - John 12:24-25
“Your real self, your new self, will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.” - CS Lewis
I am a notorious worrier about the behavior of plants under my care. Brown spots on our blackberry bush has caused many a morning quiet time to derail into lonely internet expeditions in search of explanation. I remember one pre-dawn morning trying to coax my crying infant son back to sleep in our living room when I noticed a few yellowing leaves on our hanging pothos plant. I felt an (admittedly absurd) sense of abject hopelessness wash over me.
My family has a beautiful little crape myrtle tree outside of our living room window. Every year, late fall, all signs of life recede and the tree begins to resemble a tangled mess of loosely affiliated sticks. Our first fall together I was sure I killed it.
But every year, early spring, something wonderful happens. Small brown and green buds unfurl from the sticks and within weeks the tree is arrayed in dazzling green.
Some moments I feel like that sad and dejected wad of sticks. Other moments I feel like that emerald-robed prince, regaled in the brackish bloom of new life.
I’ve noticed that worrying about my imperfections has never helped me much to get over any of them, to force any yellow leaves green or to, at least, help me feel more comfortable with the reality of both colors hanging from my branches. Similarly, marveling at my own (perceived) majesty has never helped me much to feel any more secure in the surroundings in which I find myself placed.
But if I allow my roots to go deep in good soil and if I place my trust in the Gardener I often locate that peace.
I like that the first people who laid eyes on the resurrected Jesus mistook him for the graveyard gardener.
And so this is my springtime prayer - that my roots would stay planted in the good soil of what God has told me to be true (through His Word and His words). That I would remain aware of God’s Holy Spirit, the source of new life bursting and promising to burst through my branches. And that my deepest hope would be always with the Gardener. May he grow all of us in to full bloom.