This week I decided to explore the public footpaths near where I work. After work on a couple of days, I decided to venture forth into the unknown. I love nature and greenery, in particular – trees. I love woods, forests or just big, interesting looking trees. I always find that I can connect to God whilst going on walks – I can see His hand in everything He has made.
I like to take photos of things that make me reflect on God’s nature, and I found a few things that really made me think about the same thing.
We talk about seasons of life – you could be in a tough season, or a fruitful season, or we talk about a season coming to an end, or a new season in life.
In nature, the seasons denote change – growth. You plant a seed in Spring, you’ll see it grow in every season, you’ll need to treat it differently in each season – maybe it needs more water in summer, it needs repotting or moving from greenhouse to allotment, maybe it needs pruning? Different seasons call for different actions, all on the same plant.
Our growth with God is the same. He’s an epic gardener and He wants to see you flourishing. He’ll grow you from before you were a seed – He conceptualises you, He creates your seed, He plants you, cultivates you, waters you and yes – He prunes you.
I heard an amazing message this week from Paul Scanlon (you can read my earlier blog about my new morning routine here) and he said that your last day of freedom was the day before you were born – because that was the last day God had you all to Himself. This world is trying to convince you that you are a weed – capable of nothing more than your human limitations and imagination. We were created to be the best thing in the most perfect garden, but we ruined it with selfish ambition. We feel like we can be nothing more than an acorn, but with God as our perfect gardener, we can grow into a giant tree that helps God to produce more harvest and help others to flourish.
We have so much more potential inside of us that we will ever truly know, until we put our seed back in God’s hands and ask Him to do His best.
God can do amazing things with very little. He grew a humble shepherd called David and put a crown on his head (story starts in 1 Samuel 16). He grew an abandoned slave boy called Moses, and helped him lead his people to freedom (Exodus). He grew an unloved sibling called Joseph, who was left to die and placed him at the right hand of the pharaoh to save a kingdom from famine (story starts in Genesis 37).
I heard another awesome message this week – from Pastor Phil Dooley (pastor of Hillsong South Africa). He challenged me – am I sitting down, or am I planted? You see, sitting down is an action, but one of defeat, whereas being planted is intentional. If we are planted and root ourselves deep into the word of God, we can’t help but reach up and grow up tall towards Him. Leaning into Him and allowing Him to cultivate us means we only grow taller, our trunk thickens and our roots find nutrition in the deepest places of His word.
You think it’s too late for God to work in your life? You’re too old? Abraham thought he was too old but God promised him more descendants than stars in the sky – he was childless at the age of 75.
“He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.””
Think you’ve done too many bad things? You’ve gone too far without God? God loves abundantly and because of Jesus his first instinct is to forgive us, then love us in a way we’ve never known before.
Think life’s pretty good as it is? It could get so much better and so much bigger – beyond your wildest imagination.
Don’t be an acorn. Be a tree.