[T]he wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
                                                                                                                                  Psalms 103:16

Thank God I have a couple of friends with green thumbs. When I buy plants or flowers, I ring them up in the telephone and ask them to help me plant them. By “help” I actually mean I stand around and watch them plant whatever it is that I have bought. Having them take over is reassuring. They know so much more than I do.

Most of the time.

A few days ago, I watched Lisa stick a plant next to the pole where I wanted it planted. She put some soil around it. “I’m gonna build up around it because I don’t want to dig around the dig around the telephone pole and make it unstable.”

Huh? Aren’t phone poles in the ground forever?

After she tenderly placed the soil around the second clematis flower, she murmured, “This one is going to take off fast with this Miracle Grow.”

I smiled. She was the expert, after all. I was only the flower-finder.

That night I boasted of getting the task done. As an afterthought, I explained that we (I always take credit though I never do the work) planted the flowers aboveground and simply added mounds of dirt around them. Everyone I told, expert or not, let me know what they thought about that method.

“Sounds like an ‘Amy’ style. Crazy!”

“What? Planting means digging!”

“They can’t grow roots if they’re not in the soil.”

“The roots will get exposed with the first rain.”

“The dirt will blow away.”

I gulped. Frowned. Fumed. “That’s it. She’s fired! I’ve been had.” I joked. I knew she sincerely placed them the way she thought they’d grow best. You can’t manufacture sincerity.

Susan, a true master- planter, stepped in. “You need a trellis.” She was in problem-solve mode. I knew then that my clematis flowers would thrive; she would train the flowering vines to climb up the trellis.

“What happens if they’re planted but there is no trellis?” I asked.

“They just lie on the ground and do nothing.”

When I thought about my failure to plant my clematis properly, I discovered a strong parallel to my Christian walk. For many years, I had lived like that clematis planted aboveground. I went to church. I was baptized. I spoke about God sometimes, especially to my Christian friends. I talked a little bit about Him to my secular friends.  God and I experienced moments of closeness once in awhile. But that life wasn’t ROOTED in Christ. I still made decisions based on the advice of others, and not by praying. I think my flowers were lying there, but not doing much. I wasn’t impacting the world for God. In fact, my faith often secretly wavered, and some of the seeds tumbled out and did somersaults in the air as they blew away. I sincerely thought I was living the right kind of faith-filled life but I didn’t have real joy;  my emotions ruled me six days of the week. I felt happy when circumstances were tilted my way. My faith had not been tested at that point.                                                                                                                                                          

Planting my clematises reminded me that being properly rooted and trained up will produce flowers of faith in my life.

 I didn’t know that planting my faith meant digging underground, or that my roots had to attach themselves to Christ’s base and grow up from there. I didn’t know what it meant to have roots enriched by the soil. So I couldn’t  know the joy of winding myself around and climbing up the life-long trellis the true master-planter provided for me.

 I didn’t know what I was missing until God began to get my attention. When He did, He transformed my life through my losses—twin daughters, a miscarriage, the challenges of my vision, and even the death of my father—causing me to cling to Him and then I did know. When my faith grew, it produced beautiful flowers of faith on vines wrapped around the framework of my life.

Thank you, Father, for revealing this vivid picture of what an intimate life with You can and should hold for me.

Applicaton:  When you are discouraged, remember that you grow best when you are rooted underground and attached to His nutrients.                                                                                                                        

Faith Roots Down to God’s Nutrients
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