Sunscreen, bug repellent, and triple-digit temperatures have all become the norm as of late. That’s right, friends, it’s summer. As my family and I have recently made our home in the mountains of northern California, our yard has shown that reality all the more. Here, we see new-to-us plants that only get one shot at blooming are in the process of doing so, or already have. Flowers that bloom for only one week have raised their green shoots out of the ground, spread out their flowers for the bees and hummingbirds to find, only to wilt a short time later.
My family and I recently went to the national park down our street for a dinner picnic where we discovered a striking red flower (pictured) that looked a bit like a cactus and a little bit like lupine. It was a snow plant, we discovered, a flower that doesn’t involve itself in any photosynthesis but instead uses the nutrients it finds in the ground created by a fungus that feeds off the roots of a nearby pine tree. And its brilliance is a bit of a reminder of what we Christians are called to in our walk with the Lord. Jesus called His disciples to “abide in Him,” that as we stay connected to Him as the Vine, we receive our energies for our lives and service from Him (John 15). We don’t get there by relying on our own strength, or even making our own conclusions. Instead, our life is to be shaped by Jesus, just as this little snow plant receives its growth from the tall tree it has connected itself to. The result? A show-stopping flower that makes you pull over on the side of the road when driving, wanting to know what it is about this flower that makes it so amazing.
It was a modern-day illustration of Simon Peter’s encouragement to “be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3). This, friends, invites me to stop and reflect upon what sort of life I am living. Am I—are we?—living a life that people want to know about the Hope I have, what His name is, and how they might enter into this life for themselves? Are we living in such a way that we regularly pause to receive from the Lord so that service to Him is an outpouring instead of out of a lack of being able to serve? My prayer for you and I is that we can learn that the snow plant, this “lily of the field” gives us another reminder that our Heavenly Father provides for our needs, causes our growth, and desires for His truth and grace to shine through us each day.
And now, it’s your turn. In what ways does this season of summer help you to see God’s desire for your spiritual growth? What parts of His creation that we see during this time of the calendar point you to Him and your need for Him day by day? I’m interested to hear your comments below.