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Posts Tagged ‘transgressions and sins’

As I surveyed our garden this week, I was thankful for the season of winter. Many plants seem to have gone into hibernation—even some of the weeds. What a bonus! But the little, unpretentious nandina shrubs are looking delightful in this cooler weather, with their deepening red leaves. And our hardy, old camellias make a colourful display too.

I noticed a tiny chrysanthemum bush I had only recently popped into the garden near our front door. It was originally given to one of our daughters as a potted plant on Mothers’ Day. She had tried to care for it in her inner city apartment, but alas—its lovely red-gold blooms soon withered, along with the plant itself. A lack of direct sunlight did not help. Neither did the presence of two inquisitive cats who loved to nibble those green leaves! So she bequeathed it to me.

With no great hope this little plant would survive, I put it in the ground, alongside my own Mothers’ Day chrysanthemum I had replanted earlier, which seemed to be doing okay. In contrast, my daughter’s plant looked ready to cuP1040098rl up and die at a moment’s notice. But, to my surprise, within a few days, that poor little plant began to perk up. Its leaves became distinctly less yellow and wilted and soon began to approach something much nearer normality—give or take a few holes from those curious cats! Now, it is the same healthy, deep green colour as its neighbour. It might still look somewhat scruffy and nondescript—but it is obviously living and breathing again. And my hope is that, in the summer, we may even see some more flowers emerge on it.

In quite a confronting way at times, I have found myself identifying closely with the whole process of rescuing this little, ailing plant. Often as I approach our front door now, I glance to my left, notice its green leaves, and hear that gentle voice of God, whispering into my spirit:

Jo-Anne, remember how I have rescued you—yes, once way back, but many times over in different ways since. Keep looking to me, just as this little plant is responding to the warmth of the sun on its leaves. Then you will grow strong and flourish, blessing many. Then you will fully be the person I created you to be.

In a lovely, personal way, this plant has become like a little parable to me, bringing home all over again the kindness of God at work in my own journey.  Way back, God found me and brought me into the kingdom of light, breathing new life into me through the Spirit, giving me a second chance. Then, over the years, God has nurtured me with such love and understanding and persevered in giving me chance after chance to grow. In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul writes:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world … But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ … Eph 2:1-2, 4

I’m so glad God specialises in second chances—aren’t you?

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