Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 3: Lenten Reflections

So far so good. 3 days of success! And tomorrow is Sunday so I get a day to snooze (alarm) - hooray!

As I was on my walk this morning, I was praising God for the beauty of the area I live in. Seriously, where I walked today was just lush and green with bushes in bloom and succulents (like cactii) so green and proud. There was new growth everywhere and it smelled so fresh and wonderful. I was reminded of Psalm 8 where it says:
"When I consider your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have set into place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"
(OK, i know that passage is talking about the sky/stars, but its still God's creation and it was the verse that welled up in my heart in praise this morning)

Further along, I was thinking about new growth on plants. And then I was thinking about pruning. I remember when I used to have houseplants. (I just don't have anywhere to put them right now...) There are two types of houseplants: those that are untended and grow up tall and skinny, kind of scraggily and those that are tended, pruned and grow up robust and fat and tall. I had this great plant (no idea what it was called) and it started to grow too tall and skinny, so I started pruning the new growth at the top and it started sprouting buds at the bottom. Pretty soon it was much stronger, healthier and more robust all around.

Well, as I was thinking about this, I was thinking about our lives and how the Lord tends and prunes us like plants. That sometimes a closed door is like being pruned - we are forced to look for another option and in doing so, we become stronger, more robust, hardier. And that sometimes this happens over and over (like me clipping the top of my plant) but ultimately it serves to make me stronger, to force my roots deeper.
That at other times we are allowed to bloom in season, but that at the end of that season, we are pruned - the blooms are cut off and we are trimmed back (dead-heading) - and it hurts. It feels like we are being constrained and limited and that there is not future ahead. But when the spring comes, we can stretch our arms and we are fresh and new.

Even though I chafe under the pruning and in the constraining; even though I hate when I am walking a path and the door is shut, or when I just feel like I am coming into my own (blooming) and then get cut off..... When I remember the lesson of my plants, I am grateful for the masterful, careful, thoughtful attention of the Gardener. The One who does not prune just to use the clippers, who does not "deadhead" just because we are wilty - but who does all these things because He has a plan for the landscape (me and those around me) and his plan is purposeful, not haphazard.

Sometimes its good to remember that.

Enjoy your weekend. I hope that as you see Spring beginning all around you, it will remind you that God is in every season of our lives.