My friend Rima has a passion for native plants, so I was not surprised when she included the story of her search for an American Holly tree in her worship focus at last Sunday’s gathering. She searched many nurseries in the area for this particular species with no success, until at last she discovered one lone American Holly tree in a back corner of a nursery lot. Abandoned and forgotten, the bedraggled tree was covered in vines and starving for sunlight in a crowd of other trees.
The landscaper questioned her choice, “Are you sure you want this tree?”
“Yes, this is the tree I want,” Rima assured him.
Because, as Rima told us, there was nothing wrong with the tree; it just wasn’t in a place where it could thrive. After planting it in an ideal location in her yard, the holly tree is growing tall and full, and Rima loves seeing it thriving there.
What if our bedraggled, stunted natures are the result of us living in places where we cannot thrive? What a beautiful picture of God’s saving work: the process of replanting us in His love, watering us with His grace, and enabling us to thrive in His presence!
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19, NIV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-8, NIV)
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing.” (John 15:5, VOICE)
“I am the light that shines through the cosmos; if you walk with Me, you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life and will not know darkness.” (John 8:12, VOICE)
Father God, may we fully embrace the grace you offer us. Lord Jesus, may we experience for ourselves the power of your love for each of us. Holy Spirit, enable us to thrive as the people we are meant to be in the lives we were created to live. Amen.