I am house sitting at a beautiful home this week, and although I am working from here its like a bit of a retreat for me, really. Peaceful, surrounded by mountains, trails near the river to walk, places to ride. I love it.
One of my duties (in addition to taking care of the cat) is to water the inside and outside plants… and I’m not talking one or two. I’m talking probably 50 or so. No kidding. They are beautiful and frankly I am amazed that someone can keep this many plants alive. It’s no secret that I do NOT have a green thumb. There are only ever two plants in my house: Pothos and Snake Plants or Mother-in-law’s tongue. They are very forgiving. Pothos will start to wilt to let you know you forgot to water them, and when you do – voila! – they come right back to life. These are the plants I feel confident about.
Needless to say I am following the homeowner directions VERY carefully so that their plants stay alive while I am here..
Today’s post though isn’t about having a green thumb or the beauty of potted plants. Today I want to talk about some wildflowers I saw on my hike this afternoon. These, I think could very well be the only thing I should be planting at home.
You see, out here in Colorado (and I’m sure this is the case elsewhere too), one of the things that’s hard to miss unless you are just not paying attention are the abundance of wildflowers in certain places when you are hiking. They are beautiful. Dark purple, light purple, bright pink, periwinkle blue, sunshine yellow. There are even these little tiny red ones that look like mini trumpets. Some grow on bushes, others grow in little clumps on the ground.
I’m always amazed that they can thrive in the altitude and dry, sandy soil. Yes, these flowers could work for me. They don’t seem to need too much to stay alive. Haha!
Yet I think there is a bigger lesson these wildflowers can teach us, if we will listen.
When I look at these flowers, they are so brilliant, I think they could rival any landscaping annual that is carefully planted and manicured in a flower bed or pot hanging from a balcony. Yet who takes care of them? No one.
So it makes me think of the parallel with life a bit.
I had the privilege of growing up in a pretty stable home, solidly middle class. I never feared where we would live or if we would have food on our table. My mom made most of my clothes growing up, we didn’t eat out a ton, and vacations were to mostly to see family. If I was missing something, I never knew it. My life was, in many ways, like a manicured garden, even though it got replanted every few years when we moved. Yet I could dream and hope, because the basics were not in question for me.
For some of you, survival was the name of the game. Dreams and hope were a thing for everyone else. You just wanted to survive and get out. Maybe you are still there. So as I share this next part I want to be tender in how I offer my thoughts.
Jesus talked with people in his day about wildflowers. When he did, he used it as a way to make God seem less “out there” and more “near” to them. He used wildflowers to teach them the truth of how much God cares for them. He had the audacity to tell people that they were worth SO MUCH MORE than wildflowers (Matt 6:28). Nice thought, but maybe harder to know what to do with it, right?
So to understand this, let’s consider the truth of these wildflowers:
1. There’s no one to water them every day.
2. It’s hot and dry.
3. The ground is sandy, it’s not rich or full of nutrients
4. There’s no one fertilizing them or gathering seeds to make sure they survive, yet they do. They flourish. They multiply. Who do you think does that? God. NO one else
I know I lack the ability to tease this out every way it could be. Maybe this describes your world right now, for whatever reason. Maybe this described how you grew up, without being nurtured, and you wondered where God was. Maybe this describes a season of faith you have or are going through..or maybe it describes the life of someone you know that needs to be nurtured and invested in..
What I see in these wildflowers is a dogged determination to shine, in all their colors, for everyone to see. Yes, I know I could research the scientific reason why they survive, but I think that takes away the mystery of the spiritual parallel. (Maybe for some of you, the scientific reason shows you more how God took care of them in their very design, so maybe that will speak to you more.. have at it!)
Friends, wherever you are in your story, and however it reads, can you dare to believe that there is not only a God who cares for you, but that this God is near and longs to show you the truth of his reality through the things around you? Today for me it was the wildflowers on my hike. I pray your heart and eyes will be open to see the reality God longs to show you in your world this week, or the way he longs to use you to love on and encourage a “wildflower” living near you.