I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.(1 Cor 3 v 6)
Over the years of my Christian journey, I’ve carried an image of what I am to be – a flower in the desert. My imagination being somewhat lacking, for many years a rather twee image of a flower in a plantpot prevailed. This delicate little flower required regular attention, a sunny windowsill, and careful re-potting.
Oh my – how wrong I was! A little seedling needs careful attention, food and water to help it grow into a sturdy plant. But at some point that plant must mature and face the wind, heavy rain, hot sun and perhaps drought….and may even have lumps bitten out of it by passing pests.
A flower surviving in the desert needs to be robust – have deep roots and a good supply of nourishment. She must have a tough skin to protect her from the elements…and maybe a little something to deter those who would devour her. She must be strong, and rely on God to make her grow.
The most practical image, I discovered, is a cactus.
I know – she’s not your traditional sort of beauty. But she’s up to the challenge. She is filled with nutrients, built up over years of maturing, and has grown deep roots that can still find some cool relief when the hot sun is overbearing. The wind and pests don’t bother her. What’s more – she blossoms. Her blooms are not delicate – they don’t fade away or flutter in the slightest breeze. They do their job and are fruitful.
Yes -this is the sort of flower we must grow into as we develop and mature in our faith. It may not be glamorous or pretty. But it is strong – filled with strength from God, and is robust. And can stay strong – even in the desert.
Let us work towards that robust, deep rooted faith that can survive the harsh conditions that life presents. And if we are feeling a little delicate, and bruised – look to God, who strengthens us and makes us grow.