Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2–4, NIV

A few years ago, I had my students plant some sunflower seeds. I had two empty ten-gallon aquariums and I thought I could use them like a mini greenhouse. So we planted our seeds in our little pots and I placed them in the aquarium and turned on the aquarium lights. We were happy and excited because they sprouted and started growing in just a few short days.

But I forgot to turn the aquarium lights off at night and they grew so fast that before I knew it, they were several inches tall. Then, I began to notice that the stalks were so thin and fragile that the moment leaves started to sprout, they would fall over and begin to die. I realized then that periods of darkness were necessary for the plant to grow as God designed it.

The next year we tried again. We did everything the same except this time, I diligently turned the lights off every night. This time the plants grew a little slower. But once again, when the leaves began to sprout, the stems were too weak and the plants fell over. One by one they died under the burden of carrying their leaves. This was when I realized that plants also need the resistance of the wind to grow stalks that are healthy enough to stand under the pressure of carrying the leaves.

The next year I took the same seeds and planted them in pots. But this time, I put them outside. They grew to their expected height and had amazing blossoms.

As one of God’s creatures, I have come to realize that the times I spend in the darkness or struggling with difficult circumstances are all part of my Creator’s plan to make me strong enough to fulfill my purpose. And the best part—I don’t have to do anything but surrender to the Master Gardener. I don’t need to tell Him where I want to be planted, how deep to plant me, how much water, sun, or resistance I need to grow. That’s all His job. I just need to surrender to being the seed.

Lord, I love you. Thank you for making me who I am. May my life reflect You and accomplish Your purpose for me. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Copyright Linda Bishop.

Linda is a member and a special education teacher from Arizona.

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Walking in the Opposite Spirit

9 Responses

  1. Love James!
    This book got me through a deep valley in life years ago…providing perseverance and gratitude like no other experience could have.
    Love James!

  2. Wow. This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. I’m in your second year. I’m turning the lights off at night on my little seeds in hopes they’ll grow stronger, but the stalks are still too brittle. Unfortunately, I don’t know what wind my little plants need next year to grow big and strong. I pray for the wisdom I need and I know, in time, God will send it to me.

    1. Hi Julie, try blowing on them with a small fan. Just enough so the little seedlings will waive around a little, but not too much.

  3. Thank you for this, Linda. Gardening is my passion other than teaching and I learned early on that little seedlings need some wind ‘resistance’ to strengthen their stalks. I love the analogy and I appreciate your eloquence as well. May God continue to bless you on your teaching journey. Well-done.

  4. He is faithfully giving us the best He has, conforming us into the image of His Son. Thank you for the reminder to joyfully receive it Linda!

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