Early this morning, around 6:00 or so, I happened to glance outside and see something unusual and pretty unexpected for the month of May.
I opened the door just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, and was greeted by an unusually cold blast of air. Yes indeed. Snow.
Not big flakes, mind you. In fact, at first I mistook them for drops of rain, but no, there they were. Tiny, fine flakes of snow blown by the wind, weaving through the air to eventually land and melt into the ground. Itty bitty flakes that can’t seem to be captured in a photograph despite my attempts, but trust me, they’re there.
Every season has a surprise or two, doesn’t it? Sure, I can plan and go about doing what each season calls for: turning soil and planting in Spring, weeding and trimming throughout Summer, cutting back and putting the garden to bed in Fall, dreaming of what’s to come in Winter. But sometimes there are surprises thrown in by our Gardener. Today, it was snow!
What do I do when there is a surprise or three or more thrown in during a season? Some are delightful little surprises that seem to be gifts to lift my spirit, when I open myself up wide to the Gardener and share a smile, and laugh and delight in God’s engaging sense of humor. Others I find, quite honestly, far from delightful and humorous, but downright painful; surprises that intrude and unbalance the things I’d been planning and have managed to accomplish that the day, month, year. Will this mean all that I’ve done will perish? Will the plants I’ve grown die? I turn my attention to me and my plans, my inconveniencing, and sometimes surprises do succeed in destabilizing me. And when I do this, I withdraw from the very One I should be running to, curled up in a loop of questions and bewilderment.
What do I do in those cases when I question God’s intent? When I wonder why he would allow this or that to happen to me, or to others?
I’m learning to decide that I don’t have all the answers, and that I don’t need to, and that I can choose to go with the flow. I’m learning to understand that I need to seek him out, to be open and honest with him, and listen to him rather than my own understanding of things. Most of all, I think I need to remember that the Gardener is unchanging, and so then his vision and focus. He is the same in all circumstances, offering the same peace and sharing in his joy, and that each surprise is actually a gift to accept that certitude. The Gardener graciously doesn’t push his gift on me; he leaves me to decide whether to trust and accept or distrust and reject. He knows and sees though I do not, though I get lost in and distracted by surprises. He is always present, always radiating the same deep fondness and tenderness, always ready to soothe with his warmth and encouragement, to affirm that he is in charge.
The sun peaks through the clouds now, as if tapping me on the shoulder to the fleetingness of the flakes, and the hope of what is to come. I may not have understood the meaning behind this surprise, but the Gardener does!
Oh, Jesus! I need to realize that I don’t need to know the meaning of everything, but I do need to trust you. All the time. I need to trust in you, in your promise that each surprise will be as these snowflakes – none will last forever, but will melt and serve the garden of my heart for your greater and grander purpose. And Jesus, I need to be reminded that hope never disappoints for it fertilizes faith that flowers in its season!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8, New Revised Standard Version)
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
(Psalm 145: 15, New Revised Standard Version)
When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
(Genesis 9: 16-17, New Revised Standard Version)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4: 7, New Revised Standard Version)
Soil and Seed