Nurture, with Neglect
By Robin J. Steinweg –
I had no idea I could actually kill with kindness.
See, I have this thing for blue flowers. Not the bluish-tinted purple color that the seed companies name, as if they really are blue. I prefer the honest-to-goodness, true blue flowers, like a summer sky. Heavenly Blue Morning Glories are just that kind of blue. I’ve tried, off and on ,to grow them from seed, but they’ve never gotten large enough to produce blooms.
This year, the local hardware store had some that were vigorous, already climbing up a skinny stake. I carefully brought one home, surrounded by shopping bags, so it wouldn’t tip over. I gave it the best soil. I rejoiced when it resumed its ascent. I babied it, plucked every threatening weed, and fed it regularly.
That was early June. Now it’s September, and you should see it—twelve feet tall; lush, thick leaves that could screen celebrities from paparazzi—but still, nary a bud nor a bloom.
Experienced gardeners shake their heads, already aware of the problem. I finally looked it up online: Why aren’t my morning glories blooming? What did I neglect?
For Morning Glories to produce bodacious, blue blooms, they require poor soil—harsh conditions. Instead, I coddled them with fertilizer the entire summer, denying them what I never imagined they needed.
My heavenly Father, Master Gardener, knows when to feed one of His tender shoots, when to protect it and when to give it a support to climb. He knows that a certain amount of hardship—what could be viewed as neglect, at times—will make His precious vine fulfill its purpose and flower freely.
PRAYER: Lord, the next time I face hardship, help me to remember that Your love for me is unfailing. You know exactly what I need in order to bloom and to bear the fruit of Your Spirit. Help me to be patient and trust You. In the name of Jesus I ask it.
BIBLE VERSE: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors” (James 1:2-3, The Message).