In the middle of her graveled backyard, my friend cultivates gardening miracles. During the summer, raised beds are filled with flowers, herbs, and vegetables, while potted fruit trees line the perimeter. Her hard work transforms an ordinary yard into vibrant green space.
The heart of spring is a season of preparation. Today, fresh soil was added to the beds, and next a new irrigation system will be installed. It will soon be ready for brightly-colored blossoms and an abundant crop of produce. Yet, the miracles have already begun.
The blueberry bush survived heavy winter rainstorms and urban critters that nightly dig through the dirt at its base. Most of the leaves have fallen, leaving bare branches with low expectations for harvest any time soon. Yet, closer examination reveals berry upon berry. Despite hardship, it’s still bearing beautiful ripe fruit.
A patch of daisies rests under the shadow of the blueberries. They, too, have survived the temperamental weather and outlasted their neighbors. Though many blooms droop and sag, dozens and dozens of buds are poised to burst open into the sunshine at any minute. Resiliently they’ve stood for nearly three years as a testament of hopeful endurance.
Across the yard, green onions proudly sprout tall from their own bed, but they refuse to be contained. Somehow, they’ve managed to escape the confines of the soil and begun to grow in the gravel below. The harsh conditions of shallow rock are not enough to deter their reach for the sun as they develop savory onions for a future of salsa and soups.
How are we growing? We like to wait for ideal conditions- the perfect balance of rain and sun in our lives. Just enough hardship develops character so we can live happily in easygoing days free of excessive challenges. We prefer to surround ourselves with other people in full bloom so that no one brings us down. When our environment nourishes us as it should, we will thrive and bear great fruit, right?
Except our reality is more like my friend’s garden. Trials can come in torrents followed by extended spiritual drought. The ups and downs of life blow us one way and then another quickly enough to cause emotional whiplash. We are so focused on survival that we don’t even consider the idea that anything good could be produced from the chaos.
Consider words from Jeremiah’s prophecy:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
It’s easy to forget the very One who makes onions grow in gravel and daisies bloom without ceasing. We can sow literal seeds and water them, but the Lord is the one who brings life from the ground. This same God fills us with His Holy Spirit and yields fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit is visible in kindness to a friend, compassion to someone in need, and our relationship with Him taking deeper root. The miracle is the way His fruit bursts forth from the rocky, dry soil of life’s difficulties, and how His goodness survives the violent storms of tragedy and hardship.
Here’s the crucial thing: we MUST remember this when the bad stuff threatens to choke us out like weeds. The knowledge that a Master Gardener is tending carefully to our souls keeps us reaching for the Son when only dark clouds are in sight. Giving up is not an option, and it’s not even necessary. We are more than survivors, we are producing a crop of spiritual fruit ripe for the harvest. So we can give from our gifts, like the blueberry bush. We can stand tall like onions in any conditions. And let us burst forth like daises, sharing the joy of enduring hope.