Over spring break this year, I planted three pots of flowers. I bought seeds and dirt at Lowe’s and carefully followed the instructions on the seed packets about how deep to plant them and how to arrange the potting soil. I should probably say here that I am no gardener. In fact, it’s a good thing that the killing of plants isn’t punishable by law, because I am a repeat offender. But I want to get better at cultivating beautiful plants, so I keep on trying.
The seed packets told me that I should see green shoots after 10-14 days. I checked on my little pots each day, watering them with care, looking for any sign of green. And finally, I began to see growth. It was what I hoped for, it was what I expected, but still, I was surprised when the little green shoots broke free of the dirt and turned towards the sun.
I have no idea what happens under the dirt that turns seeds into shoots. I know sunlight and water have something to do with it, but I don’t remember much of what I learned about plant biology in high school. The growing process is not something I can control or manipulate. It’s a mystery to me.
There is a parallel here to our life with Jesus. So much of what the Holy Spirit accomplishes in us happens under the surface, where no one can really tell what’s happening. Sometimes, it takes a while for any signs of life to surface, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t there or isn’t working.
I see two ways to cultivate our own spiritual growth:
- Plant yourself in an environment conducive to growth. Be a part of a local church where you can find community with other believers.
- Expose yourself to the elements it takes to cultivate growth. Water your life with God’s Word. Turn your face towards Jesus in prayer, in your thoughts, and in your attitude.
Some plants take longer to bloom than others, but given the right conditions, eventually, they burst forth in color and fragrance. We’re no different. So, if you’re not seeing visible, tangible evidence of growth that you’d like to in your spiritual life at the moment, hold on. Keep a lookout. And trust the One Who holds the mysteries of the universe and of our hearts in His capable hands. He will bring the harvest in His time.
Corley Shumaker serves as Assistant Campus Minister at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Arkansas State University. She loves Red Wolves football, nail polish, and flowers. You can find her on Twitter at @corleycline.