For quite some time before we had any sprouts or signs of life from our planters and pots we were very faithful in watering the seeds every day. The first time we even saw the tiniest bit of a green sprout in one of the basil pots we were ecstatic! It was so exciting and fun to see something that we had planted and watered every day finally show some signs of life. In hindsight, we were probably a little bit ridiculous in our level of excitement over one little tiny shoot of green.
|Tiny basil sprouts|
Then-- joyous day! One of our watermelon planters had two little stalks of green with leaves! And one of the pepper planters did too. Again, the amount of excitement was probably a little excessive, but we were finally seeing our faithfulness pay off!
|Little pepper plant|
When we had a little moment to catch our breath from life's busyness, Timothy went to water our little plants. The sight that met his eyes was rather disheartening. The basil was doing alright, but the watermelon and pepper sprouts were completely dry and withered. We were so upset! All that faithfulness and work we had put in was wasted.
We decided to see if we could revive them anyway. So for the next few days we were extra attentive to the little plants; we watered them faithfully and checked their progress often. I am quite happy to report that they are finally (after probably a week or so) beginning to make a recovery. They are not quite as spry and green as they were at first, but they are getting there.
So why am I chronicling the progression of our little garden plants and sharing it with you? Why do you care?
In the weeks of growing, nearly killing, and reviving our little plants I feel like God shared with me an object lesson.
These little plants are so much like my relationship with God and my spiritual growth. Sometimes in the beginning it feels like all work and no noticeable progress. Then, slowly but surely I can see small improvements and start to feel like I'm really getting somewhere with this God business; I begin to feel like a real Christian. Maybe even other people can see the change.
Inevitably life gets busy. Sometimes so busy that I neglect my relationship with God. I spend time in prayer, but it's hurried and not as thoughtful as it should be, or I read my Bible but don't take the time to really contemplate the meaning of what I just read or search out the lesson in it. I stop drinking in that Living Water that I so desperately need to grow and flourish.
Then suddenly one day I stop and realize that I'm all dry and withered up. I notice that I've been selfish or lashed out at Timothy. Or I've not been patient with one of my coworkers or patient's families. And when I try to get down to the root of the problem I realize that it's because I've neglected my spiritual life. I haven't put priority on my time with God.
Thankfully, I serve a merciful and forgiving God; He always accepts me back. But often getting back into spending time with God and "watering" your spiritual life seems like it takes twice as much attentiveness and purpose as it did the first time around. And what you lost in two or three days of neglect seems to take two weeks to rebuild and regrow. But the beauty of God's love is that it can and will regrow.