“In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.  So after you had suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.” 1 Peter 5:10

To say I don’t have a green thumb is an understatement.  Those plants that “you can’t kill,” I can and I have.  In order to protect our landscaping, Tim took care of all the watering, fertilizing, and pruning (all the important stuff).  I pulled weeds, put down mulch, and cleaned out the flowerbeds (you know the stuff that isn’t life or death to the plants).   That first February after he passed away I found myself with knockout rose bushes that needed to be pruned.  My dad, who has a thumb that is so green that he can literally put a stick in some dirt and produce a beautiful plant, came to show me how.  Since I had never bothered to pay attention to the process before, I was shocked at how far back he clipped them.  My large, lush bushes were reduced to tiny, frail sticks.  I remember thinking that at least if they died that would be one less thing for me to take care of.

Of course, as spring gave way to summer, my rose bushes once again were completely loaded with the most beautiful blooms.  Every time I pulled into my garage or mowed the yard, I felt a twinge of conviction.  What had seemed so harsh a few months ago was exactly what now produced abundant blooms.  I literally would say out loud, “I get it God.  You take the harsh, difficult circumstances in our lives and produce something beautiful.”

When the next February rolled around, I grabbed my clippers (somewhat proud of myself that I had kept everything alive for a year), headed out to the first rose bush, and tried to clip close to the base just like dad had showed me.  But there was a slight problem…  I couldn’t get the clippers to cut through it.   So I resorted to the loppers we used to cut off the crepe myrtle and dogwood branches.  As I cleared away the foliage, I discovered the reason my clippers hadn’t worked.  Instead of those frail sticks, my roses now had thick, substantial trunks.  That harsh pruning had not only produced beautiful roses, but it had also produced something I couldn’t see from the surface, something even more vital.

That hit home!  I immediately knew that was exactly what had been happening to me.  As I struggled with the most difficult time in my life, God had used it strengthen my faith and make me a stronger person more prone to draw from His strength.  Just like my rosebushes now had trunks strong enough to withstand the elements, I now had a confidence that with God’s help I could tackle whatever life held, and a faith strong enough to withstand an assault.  The pruning hadn’t been pleasant or wanted, but the results were proof that even when we can’t see everything that God is doing, we can trust His faithfulness to restore, support, and strengthen us.

Carla, Church Administrator

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