In Focus Magazine

Thought for the Month

My mum is a very gifted gardener and has years of knowledge about what will grow where…whether a plant needs light or shade, rich soil or thin soil, dry or damp conditions. Her garden reflects this, as her plants bloom joyfully and abundantly, when God miraculously turns seeds into beautiful flowers.

As I have looked around her garden, and around the fields, hedges and trees surrounding it, I’ve been thinking about the order of all these living things…how we may plant, may know how to care for them, but ultimately it is God who makes them grow and bloom, each in its proper place.

This has made me think how that in our life we might not always like where we are planted. Anyone who thinks life doesn’t have its rough places must be living on a different planet to the rest of us!

Yet, just like those plants in Mum’s garden, God knows the perfect place for us to be for our optimum growth. The soil may feel a bit inadequate and rocky round our roots, and at times the sun may feel a bit hot on our heads…yet it’s the place that He has brought us to, and He knows the best conditions for our faith, character and witness to grow and develop.

Maybe it’s a bit wet just where we find ourselves… at times we can feel the floods rising up and it seems that we might be washed away. But God knows we need the rain too…his beautiful creation – plants, animals and humans ALL need the life-giving water He sends.

So can I suggest we have a choice: shiver, retreat and complain bitterly about the conditions, or choose to absorb the sun on our faces, drink in the rejuvenating wetness, let our roots drop deeper into the unplumbed depths of his security and strength? It is human to do the complaining bit…I know, because I’ve done it often enough myself, and in recent days too, so I am not yet totally cured of it!

I’m also aware that there are depths of human suffering, physical, mental and emotional, that I can’t begin to imagine. In those dark places the prayers of others and of Jesus Himself in Heaven (Romans 8:26) can provide a wind break…that allows us to submit to God’s loving touch, the ultimate caregiver.

It is he who tends us when we are weak and helpless, scorched and battered by the winds of life. So, as the dark days begin to recede and we see the signs of Spring, can we open ourselves up to God’s love and care, trusting that he has planted us in just the right place for just the right time, that we may flourish and bloom!

Mark Smith