Have you ever looked at a brown, shriveling shrub and thought, “I feel as tired and dead as that plant looks?” Perhaps on a day (or month, or year) when everything just seems to be going wrong, despite your best efforts and intentions. Or maybe things are going right, but you just feel empty or lost inside and don’t know why.
I have two flower planters on my front porch that are too heavy to move. Over the summer they overflowed with colorful blooms, but a freeze this winter killed them off. I walked by their shriveled, brown remains for a few weeks every time I went outside. Their tired appearance reminded me of my own tiredness.
I kept thinking, “tomorrow I’ll pull them out and replant them.” But tomorrow became the day after that, and then I forgot about it. But I’m glad I did, because the tiniest bit of green began to creep back up the plants’ stems. Then a little more. And then a little more, until the stems were almost fully green again and blossoming into white flowers:
When I saw these plants and their resiliency, it made me think about how we can be similar. We might get knocked down for a moment, but we don’t have to stay there. We have an incredible source of strength in God’s Spirit, which gives us power (2 Tim. 1:7); God is our “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).
When He is our source of strength, we can draw on His power, love, and wisdom. 2 Peter 1:3 says:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
When we are rooted in Him, though like the dead plants, we may appear on the surface to be shriveled up and weak, we still have life deep in our souls, waiting to reappear. Relying on God means our souls can be resilient. When we are strongly “rooted” in God and His truth, we can bounce back and be fruitful again after a betrayal, loss, or hardship.
We are called to be rooted in Christ and His love (Eph. 3:17, Col. 2:7), and yet, how many times do we try to “hide” from God or run to something else besides Him to replenish our souls? I know I have. We think that so many other things will solve our problems or bring the new life and growth that we desire, when really they can’t fully refresh our spirits the way that God can. But we don’t realize how much we’ve replaced time with God with other things until one day we wake up and realize we haven’t heard the Holy Spirit in awhile. That God doesn’t seem as close as He used to be.
James 4:8 says:
Come near to God and he will come near to you…
This is a promise- He will be near when we reach out to Him. He has been there all along, waiting for us to turn back to Him when we wander (or run) away. God told the Israelites of His ability to bring renewal in Isaiah 43:18-20, and He can do the same for us:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
God gave the water to sustain His people (Is. 43:20). God can sustain us as well. He can be enough for us. He can do a “new thing” in us and renew our dried up souls.
Would you reach out to Him and give Him the chance to bring new life to your soul today?
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All verses from the New International Version of the Bible (NIV), accessed from http://www.biblegateway.com