So we have had some icy days here in Leiden over the past week or so. Yet overall it has still been quite a mild winter so far – in fact there is a beautiful blue sky as I type.
Driving out to Oegstgeest presently there are plenty of daffodils in bloom. In our own garden, there is growth from bulbs breaking through…..
Anything piercing through the soil surface has of course been planted or rooted at some stage. At ICL presently, we are considering from the Psalms and other passages in the Bible what it means to be ‘a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour’ (Isaiah 61:3). Some brief thoughts for us all to consider:
1. Do we see ourselves as planted? How do we see our relationship to God through Christ? In Colossians 2:6-7 we can read, “just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”.
How do we view being in the neighbourhood where we live, the study course we are on or the job that we do? Is it just random, someone else’s choice, our choice or could it be that God is involved somehow? Can I encourage us all to take time to pray and think about how might the Lord call us to view where we live and what we do in the week.
2.What are we planted in?
Think soil and weather for example. Now I am about to break the plant metaphor a bit… what are we feeding ourselves on? Is it healthy stuff which will aid growth? “A person reaps what they sow” (Galatians 5:7)
Sometimes the weather turns somewhat unpleasant (even here in the Netherlands!!) The elements can be really against a plant growing. Deep and searching roots are often the answer and finding the nutrients and water that are needed.
It could be that you are facing a time of real dryness or having questions like ‘where are you God?’ Perhaps you are going through a tough time (like alluded to in the talk on Psalm 73 recently). When seemingly unanswerable questions come, where do we turn to? What do we feed on?
3. Will we give the time to grow from being planted?
Recently, I was in the car and either side of the motorway were really tall trees reaching majestically up to the sky. It was almost like the trees were stood on parade to the left and the right.
All those trees took time to grow to that height. It was far from instant.
So much of the way society is wired is to be instant or near enough so:
- Emails demanding rapid replies (though do all emails need such reaction??)
- Internet at ever faster speeds
- Fast food
I wonder if this seeps into our spirituality and walk with God? We can end up expecting everything to be instant and then wonder what is happening when it is not.
There was significant time between God’s promise to Abraham of a son and the birth of Isaac.
There were 100s of years between God’s promise of the Messiah and the coming of Christ.
What kind of season do you see yourself in? Ecclesiastes 3:1 asserts, “there is a time for everything”. A number of the things that follow in verses 2 to 8 are very real to me at present. Some of it has been tough, some of it has been challenging.
It also has brought me afresh to see there is a timing to God’s ways in our lives. Even situations we did not expect (or necessarily want), can be used to bring new growth. Though will we keep trusting the Lord and allow the time for His work in and through our lives?
A planting of the Lord – how do you see that phrase and your life?