Years ago, on a whim, I grabbed a bag of zinnia seeds and scattered its contents into the empty earth of my flower bed. A few weeks later, after I’d just lost our first baby at 9 weeks, they began to bloom.
The tall sea of flowers became a sort of oasis for me. Bright corals, deep reds, and unique pinks sprung up before my eyes singing songs of life at a time when death felt so close—so, within me. I cherished these blooms, clipped and gathered them to my heart like I would’ve the little one we lost. I stared at them for long moments, savoring the gifts God was giving me through them. Gifts like perseverance, remembrance, and abiding joy.
That was six years ago and each year since I’ve anticipated the last Ohio frost so I can push tiny seeds into the earth and watch God work. The last few years though, I’ve felt a resistance from the ground. Between bugs and flooding, it’s become a struggle to cultivate these flowers which mean so much to me. “What’s a summer without zinnias?!” I’ve said to my husband when he asks why I keep trying and why I care so much.
So, this morning, when I laid in bed listening to the splashing of water outside my window from torrential rain, discouragement threatened to creep in. Yesterday I rejoiced in tons of tiny green leaves emerging from the ground; today they sit under 3-4 inches of water. But I won’t give up.
And isn’t that kinda like sanctification? Sometimes the fruit seems to come easily, naturally even, to the woman or man saved by Christ. But then there are times that require persistence and perseverance. We learn to strive for the good fruit that truly only God can bring. And we learn to trust his timing, to trust him in the storms he allows, and to wait patiently for the fruit he alone can grow in us.
Though my zinnias might be goners, it isn’t so with those who are hidden in Christ. The storms that flood the fruit cannot wash away our roots. Maybe the trials of this life are God’s means to deepen our roots but also to remind us that it is by grace alone that we are kept and not uprooted. That he is working in the waiting, the cultivating, the persevering.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, we take up our armor against anger, bitterness, covetousness, lust, and the like. We run to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Freely, we run to him for help in our struggles to obey him. In prayer, we ask him to change us. And he is faithful to finish the work he’s started in us.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)