A Green Thumb and Patience in Waiting


I absolutely love gardening and flowers!  The picture above is of some clematis that I planted last year in Nashville.  Here in Starkville, though, I absolutely still have the ability to grow plants–and bring them back to life–in my little, college apartment.  Meet my other roommates since mine have both moved out for June….

The onion plant and the hydrangea that has come back from the dead.

At this point, you may be thinking that I am pitifully alone or something to call these two plants roommates, but whenever someone comes over to my apartment, they always get to meet these two.  I figure that you should have the same pleasure as well!

The onion plant is what is sooo funny to me.  After all, look at it up close!

Now, maybe it’s just me and my weird sense of humor, but this makes me laugh every single time that I see it!  I can’t believe that THAT thing grew out of something that I would normally cut up to make chicken stock.  Anyways, I just didn’t have the heart to throw it away.

The hydrangea used to be as tall as those stakes, but then I didn’t water it at all for about a week and a half, and the plant died.  I trimmed away the dead parts, stuck it outside for a few weeks, and a tiny green stem sprouted!  It’s been 10 months, and here’s what it looks like…

Yay!

Just as in everything with life, though, I think the crucial aspect of this was having patience–persistently and patiently waiting.   It’s amazing what growth–whether physical or spiritual–will take place if we are just willing to wait with patience…

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Patience: An Arrow in the Archer’s Bow

“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer.  God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.'”

Oswald Chambers

I can remember filling out personality surveys, and whenever they asked the question, “Are you patient while waiting?”  I always pictured myself sitting in a doctor’s office.  Reading a book while waiting for my name to be called: this was what I pictured as having patience.  Essentially, I only viewed patience as simply being content while waiting.

But what does patience really mean and, therefore, imply?  I read that quote by Oswald Chambers, and I was struck by the image of being an arrow in the bow of an archer.  Reading this made me think of that medieval contraption that tortured a person by stretching him.  First of all, I can never EVER imagine suffering that torture, but isn’t that what this quote is saying that we must do while waiting on God’s perfect timing?  We must allow ourselves to be stretched and stretched even though it feels like torture.  In this way patience is suffering.

So if patience is suffering, what is impatience?  If we’re arrows in God’s bow, we can’t say to God, “Alright, God, I’m not going to be an arrow anymore.  I think I’ll just jump down and out of your hands.”  No sir!  If God has us in His bow, trust me, He is not going to let us go.  Therefore, if we want to be impatient, the only thing that we can do is writhe in pain–kick, scream, and wave our arms.  Whenever we are kicking and flailing our arms, though, we only make the stretching and contortion of our body worse.  We experience even more pain trying to get out of His bow rather than if we had just remained calm and trusted that He was sighting His aim perfectly.

This is what it means to be patient: to be content while enduring suffering for we know that God is preparing us for something great.  The more that we suffer means that we are being stretched even more.  By being stretched even more, we are sent even farther once the Archer releases the bow.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for a future and for a hope.”  This is what we are promised in Jeremiah 29:11.  God has a plan for us, a course of direction.  The only question now is this: will we be patient while He sights His aim.  Will we writhe, or will we prepare ourselves for the release of His bow–the journey of great speed and direction that follow that resounding sound… Snap