Gardening is a passion for countless people, but it was a dormant love for me. I stumbled on it quite by accident and discovered a natural ability that brought unexpected results.
Digging up earth to set a few plants in the soil gave way to sketching garden designs and, eventually my yard was framed with flower beds, shrubs, hostas and trees. As the gardens increased, so did their beauty and tranquility; a welcomed presence in a stressful world.
There is blessing in the reassurances of God’s creation and observing the world around us offers life lessons if we take the time to notice. Sometimes a garden can be a classroom.
Knowing the nature and characteristics of various plants helps a gardener determine the best location for their growth. Since green dominates the landscape for the most part, gardeners incorporate perennials for an on-going display of color. It requires planning, for each kind blooms only for a season. Some in spring, others at various times of summer. Lilies are among them and I have some in my gardens.
Like all returning plants, lilies make their coming known with blades of green that push through the ground in spring. Their growth is slow, but steady, gradually producing stems that bear summer flowers. I wait patiently each year for the buds to blossom until the full glory of the lily reveals it’s magnificent display of color. A hint of lime green gives way to yellow and ultimately a soft peach flower glimmers as though dusted with diamond powder. It is glorious, but fleeting, for each bloom last only a day. As beautiful as they are in the moment, by the following morning the wilted remains speak of yesterday’s glory. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I appreciate them, for they are reminders of life’s parallel and the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:28-34.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more cloth you, O you of little faith?” Therefore, do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or “‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” NKJV
There it is … Jesus’ teaching alive in my garden. When I dug into the soil long ago, I never realized planting lilies would produce more than flowers. I may have put in the seeds, but He created them and I am the beneficiary of the good gifts from God’s hand and heart. His handiwork is a visual reminder that life on earth is brief and the wise will rest in God’s goodness and provision for today and trust in His promise of eternity for tomorrow.
Life is demanding and we compete in a world captivated by impressive, but momentary, glories. A lot of stress comes from putting the things of this world above the things of God. Though hard work and diligence is honorable, if our efforts are independent of our Creator, the results will add unnecessary worry to a fleeting life.
If Jesus put such care and attention into the lily, whose glory is but a day, how much greater is God’s provision for those He fashioned for eternity? In a world that clamors for things that won’t matter in the end, God calls us to embrace what does. “All flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25
There is more to life than we see. The quiet lessons of truth revealed in God’s creation are wonderful reminders of His tender care. When burdens tempt us to forget, we would do well to consider the lilies and honor the Lord who made them.