Recently, a desire of mine came so close I could almost reach out and grab it, but then something else came and took its place. So naturally, I've been thinking a lot about plants...naturally. Ok, I know, but stay with me.
There are 8 steps in the farming life cycle: 1) crop selection, 2) land preparation, 3) seed selection, 4) seed sowing, 5) irrigation, 6) crop growth, 7) fertilizing, and 8) harvesting. I grew up on a farm/ranch, and although I did my best not to pay much attention, I learned at least this much- it takes a LOT of work and a LOT of time. My sister-in-law was recently here visiting and she so graciously helped my 6 year-old daughter build and plant a flower garden (because well, I don't do that kind of thing. I may cloth diaper, but I don't grow things). The sprouts came up quick and beautifully, but now almost 6 weeks in, there has yet to be a single bloom! I have been assured this is normal, but it is driving me crazy. We did everything we were told to do to bring life to this garden. There should be flowers by now! Surely. There are big, strong, green stems. Where. Are. The Flowers?!
But you know what, Norah is still incredibly proud of her garden. She shows it to everyone who comes over. She sees life, with or without flowers. Why? Because there actually is life there. It doesn't seem to bother her at all that not 1 stem has bloomed. Her work produced something, and she doesn't yet measure the produce and find it to be not enough, and I pray she never does. She put in the work, she did what was asked of her, and because the rest is out of her control, she can be satisfied with the produce.
What I've discovered is this: sometimes we put in the work and the time faithfully, and something wonderful grows. Sometimes we put in the work and the time faithfully, and nothing grows. Other times we do no work at all, and turn around to find beautiful flowers growing in the cracks in our sidewalks! Life happens where we plant it, and sometimes where we don't. And shouldn't we always be satisfied with the LIFE blooming around us, whether it's what we planned for, or not?
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. 1 Corinthians 3