Lately I have observed little things in nature or everyday life that remind me of an aspect of the spiritual life. I’ll have several brief posts on these things.
About 10 years ago I planted a few flower bulbs, but they have not done well. They come up each year but are sparse and skimpy. Last year we planted lantana bushes near the bulbs, and lantana quickly grows into large bushes. The lantana covered the area of the bulbs, and I figured so much for the bulbs! They will never return now. Surprise, surprise. The bulbs not only grew up and through the lantana, but were full and healthy – for the first time ever!
It is like the bulbs needed some challenge and struggle in order to thrive and become all that they could be. Isn’t the spiritual life often like this? When we have it too easy, it can make us lazy or lackadaisical.
I was reminded of passages such as Romans 5:3, “but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” -and-
James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The bulbs found themselves blocked and challenged…and proceeded to grow into full and healthy plants. It can be the same for us. Difficulties in life can produce perseverance and character, which develops us into mature believers. It might seem extreme to “glory” and find “pure joy” when challenges come our way, but these things can create spiritual health. And remember where our hope lies:
“looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” (Titus 2:13)