Pick me, pick me! The man could almost hear the tiny yellow flower crying out. “Oh, no, little one, you’re too small!” His eyes searched the flower garden until finally he made a choice. After a quick clip of the scissors, he held up a tall, sturdy red zinnia and gazed admiringly at it. “Yes,” he said with a smile, “You’ll do just fine, you will look lovely in the vase on my table.”
Before leaving the garden, he stopped and studied the small yellow zinnia. It was not only smaller, but with only one small stalk and a scant few leaves, it was almost scraggly looking. The zinnia garden had all been planted on the same day, therefore they had all received the same amount of water and sunshine. There was only one reason the yellow flower should be so dwarfed and sickly in comparison to the rest of the garden. He remembered the day he had planted them. Just as he had finished putting the last plant into the ground the sky had begun to boom with thunder and large drops of rain had begun to fall. Quickly he had gathered his tools and gone inside out of the stormy weather.
Although he had planned to go back out and finish the last plant, other things had claimed his attention, and before he knew it, several weeks had gone by. The garden had grown quickly, producing large beautiful blooms on healthy plants. All, that is, but that one. “Hmm,” he said thoughtfully as he looked now at the small flower. Then he went inside and placed his beautiful red zinnia into a vase.
Soon, however, he came back with garden tools and a bucket in hand. “Little flower, you need nutrients to make you strong.” With a small garden spade he began to dig lightly around the small plant. He could almost hear the flower saying, Stop, that hurts! What’s in that bucket? Don’t put that stuff near me, it stinks!
“Ah, little flower, you don’t understand what I’m doing right now. But you see, all the other flowers in the garden received one thing you did not, and that is fertilizer! I know you don’t think it’s good, but you need it to become as strong and tall and beautiful as the other flowers!”
If God has a plan for our lives, and we may be considered His garden, how does He plan for us to grow healthy and strong? Could it be that the fertilizer of God's choice is the very stuff we seek to avoid? You know, those things we try to pray our way out of - trials, difficulties, tribulation, affliction, to name a few. Well, just give me the gentle rains and warm sunshine, none of that stinky fertilizer stuff if you please!
Still, I know in my heart that attitude won't help, and God knows that some of the things I try to pray my way out of are, in fact, His purpose and His design to make me healthy. I decided to see what the bible really had to say, and before long I had gathered over six pages of scripture on the subject! No, the subject isn't defined in the bible as fertilizer - or is it? Remember the parable Jesus told about digging fertilizer in around the fig tree in hope of it producing fruit? Although He didn't explain exactly what the fertilizer was, we do know He wasn't really concerned about fig trees!
So, let's look at some other scriptures, thinking of fertilizer being the stuff we need to make us grow strong and healthy in the eyes of the Lord, to become all He wants us to be. Here are just a few of the many I found - and I know if you read your bible you are most likely already well aware of them and many more besides.
Romans 5:3-4 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
2 Corinthians 4:16 -17 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
2 Timothy 2:3 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 5:8-10 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.God bless, and Happy Thanksgiving!
[All scriptures NASB]