I’m gonna throw a little wisdom your way this morning… people tend to disagree on a lot of things. Politics, religion, relationships, the weather, music, and everything else. That’s what keeps life interesting. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there’s something we can all agree on. Something universal. Something recognized. Something unquestioned.
Plants can be creepy.
Yeah, I know. Duh. Admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about flowers and plants. This past weekend my wife and I were at the nursery choosing this year’s victims.
Me: Can you get a penicillin shot to clear that up?
After a few hours of choosing the perfect flowers, we made our selections and went home to start the planting. We decided to put out some clematis, which is kind of a vine thingy with big flowers. At least on the picture it is. Being the intrepid gardeners that we are, we knew enough to plant them next to a trellis. Apparently that’s what makes the plant a climbing vine versus ground cover. Although it hasn’t worked on my monkey grass so far.
We opted for the smaller (i.e., “cheaper”) size clematis, so they were around three or four inches tall. We dug a hole, stuck them in, poured some water on them, and sprinkled some Miracle-Gro. After standing there for a few moments, it was apparent that we didn’t plant magic beans, since nothing was happening.
For a couple of days, there was a little sign of growth, but nothing to get too excited about. And then, one morning when I checked on them, something creepy had happened. They bent over and grabbed the trellis. Little shoots of new greenery were wrapped around it like someone had actually tied it up.
Now, I’ve seen enough scary movies to know that it starts with trellises (trelli?), and the next thing you know, plants are wrapping themselves around us, squeezing the very life out of our bodies. Or maybe that was a giant octopus, I’m not sure.
But I did find it amazing that the plant grabbed hold of something to support itself. Without that support, it can never become what it’s supposed to be.
Just like us.
Unlike the plant though, we have to choose to use the support. There are really only two options. You can either grab the support and try to pull yourself up, or you can lean on the support and let it take you higher.
If you try to pull yourself up,it’s just not going to work very well. You’re relying on your own strength instead of letting the support do its job. You’re going to get tired. You’re going to get worn out. And you’re not going to get very far. Mainly because as you pull yourself up, you’re pulling against your roots. And if you do manage to get higher, you find that your roots can’t provide you what you the nourishment you need. Or even worse, you pull your roots out of the ground.
But if you lean on the support, and let your roots do their job, you grow. And you keep growing. That doesn’t mean that pruning isn’t still going to happen. That’s what makes us stronger. By using the support, your roots grow deeper, so that when the dry season comes, you can make it through it. And when the winds come, you can hold tighter to a support that won’t fail.
As Christians, the Word of God serves as our root structure. It’s how we get nourishment and stability. It holds us steady. And as we grow, we lean against the Holy Spirit. And as we get taller, we figure it out. We’re not wrapping ourselves around Him. He’s wrapping Himself around us.
And so we grow. Some days are sunny. Some are not. Sometimes there is rain. Sometimes not. Sometimes we grow rapidly. Sometimes we don’t. But always, the support is there.