Always it’s the ground that draws my heart to reflect on growing. The sky calls to my dreams, but it’s the soil that brings me back to the parables that Jesus spoke, to the sheep and their grazing, to the rains falling on the dry ground.
One of my newer yet old forms of creating has been to work with art collages. On days when my hands have moments of strength, then I can gently cut and freely glue without the pressure of precision that my old crafts required. On the day I created this page, the words were what struck me, and the Scriptures were the connection to the invitation that I felt from Jesus:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,” Psalm 23:1-2 NIV
However, it was the small image of a succulent in the corner that drew the eye of one of my friends–so much so that she sent me a few interesting facts about them. When another friend gifted me a succulent mini-planter, I suddenly felt my Shepherd drawing my own attention to those facts about succulents.
In this season when my gardening has been limited to the indoors, or to small containers on the deck, I’ve ached to feel that soil under my fingernails, that ground beneath my feet. I have always felt that when I’ve been digging on my knees I have understood those facts as parables, and those mysteries as treasures from His earth.
“Succulents are plants that thrive in the dry desert landscape. Poor, gritty soil allows the desert rains that come like a sudden and sporadic flood to drain thoroughly. And then, During the ‘drought,’ they’ll put out new roots that are thick and healthy, so they can absorb more water when the ‘flood’ comes again.”
But it was the meaning of the word itself that drew me deeper into the parable:
“Succulent comes from the Latin word ‘sucus,’ which means juice or sap. It’s also a nod to the nourishing leaves that help these plants survive in extremely warm conditions.”
Where had I heard those words before? My Shepherd called me to drink deep of His living water, to remember the verses that were spoken when our family first moved into this home 15 years ago.
“He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;” Deuteronomy 32:13 NIV
As I dug my fingertips into the small container of dirt on the deck, the same earthy smell surrounded me. The mystery was at work even here in places that have felt so small to me.
The soil calls to me
Touch your fingers here
Feel the ground beneath your feet
Anchor your soul in the earth
Fresh brown dirt teeming with life
Moisture filling between the clods
Rains have fallen days on end
Life overwhelming smells of earth
But other days other seasons
Soil was dry and cracked
Burnished ground felt empty
Life was hidden in barren earth
Desert places burnt the ground
Fires raged where weeds consumed
The flames had sent the roots down low
Freed new growth in deeps of earth
Succulent leaves now thick and fat
Began to stretch out fleshy roots
Sucking life where none was seen
Yet tendrils knew to search the earth
And I have heard Shepherd’s call
Trust the season He sets before
He will guide my roots, my shoots
Find His growth in this HIS earth.
The moments of the dry season are just as crucial for growth as those moments of verdant rains. The stormy seasons have their place as well. Our Good Shepherd is always leading us along His pathway where growing is to be gained. He plans for those roots of ours to go down deep, to suck the honey from the rocky ground. It is HIS mystery that brings us life.
As the storms seem to rage around me now, even my husband is bearing the weight again. We are waiting on calls from yet more specialists as he injured his shoulder last night, with a probable tear in the tendons.
Does a fresh deluge mean that we will be swept away?
Or does that very deluge bring within its rain the nurturing of our Lord?
Would you pray with me today?
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You once again for the mysteries that You bring to us from the depth of Your creation. We are in awe that You would gift us glimpses into the Spiritual realm even as we observe this physical realm around us. Lift our eyes to trust You in these storms, Lord. Our hearts grow faint as we wait for the growth that You have promised us. We long to be held and nurtured by You in these places of grounding of our souls. We are filled with worship of You, our own Dear Master Gardener.
In Your name, we pray,
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