But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV)
This week, I made an unusual discovery. My husband was busy weed-eating our front yard, and I was surveying the area, watching the weed-eater do its thing and thinking about the work we would still need to do to landscape our front walkway. Then, something caught my eye.
In the fall, I had taken the potted mums from our porch and planted them in an effort to keep them alive. I was convinced that this effort had been unsuccessful, as any remaining leaves had long since fallen off, and the three little plants had turned into nothing but a bunch of dried sticks. There they sat, stoic and unchanging through months of wind, rain, sun, cold, ice, and now returning warmth.
What caught my eye was green leaves. Bunches of them. I did a double take, then knelt for a closer inspection. Indeed, lush, soft, deep green leaves had sprung up underneath the old, dead sticks. I gently began breaking away the old sticks, revealing more fully the bush’s new growth. Delighted, I exclaimed to my husband, ‘Look! I thought these were dead, but they’re growing!’ Only moments earlier, I had been thinking about how I should probably dig up those old, dead bushes, but now I was delighting in plants that were not only growing but flourishing. Jokingly, I said to my husband, ‘There’s probably a spiritual analogy in there somewhere. . .’
And there is. I’ve recently been in a season of somewhat imperceptible growth. You know the kind? Full of fits and starts, frustrations, tears, fatigue, questions, and many prayers of, ‘Lord, are You doing anything?’ and, ‘Am I okay?’ Standing there on my front sidewalk, I felt an odd sense of familiarity with this little mum. I looked at it and thought, ‘You’re like me. All this time, I could see no growth taking place and thought you were dead.’ As it turns out, there was growth taking place – an underground growth that took some time to be seen.
Dear believer, be encouraged that the Lord is at work in you even when you cannot always see it. In Ephesians, Paul reminds us that Christ made us alive in Him through His work on the cross. As His child, you are not dead sticks but are continually being made into the likeness of Christ. Sometimes, we must be reminded to have patience with ourselves and trust that ‘He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 1:6, ESV). As we move into this Easter weekend, rejoice in the finished work of Christ on the cross that has allowed you to come alive! Know that the Lord can be trusted to sanctify you and that it is often the times of underground growth that yield the most fruit.