What a joy it is to watch the plants and flowers grow as the warm sunshine and the fragrant rains of spring draw life from the dead ground after a long winter. But sometimes, the new life that comes forth includes unexpected hardships. The thriving grapevine arbor in our backyard that has been the source of an abundant supply of fruit each fall, had been attacked by a pest that was eating the leaves. We sprayed the vine to remove the pest and in the process we killed not only the infestation but also the vine. Our backyard retreat is now covered with dead leaves, and new, tiny shoots are struggling to break through and grow once again. I know that our hardy grapevine will survive this difficult season, but thinking about all that the grapevine must endure regarding weather, pests, and other ravages of time brought me to recall a prayer I wrote a few years ago about spiritual growth...
As your beautiful world
comes to life in the season of spring
I realize that I, too,
am coming to life in the season
of Your love.
Like the leaves on the trees
and the flowers in the ground,
I am growing, and it hurts.
As an adolescent suffers pain
in his joints during periods of growth,
I also ache as I grow spiritually.
Is it possible that the
growth of spring
is painful for the leaves and flowers, too?
Do they suffer pains to produce
their beauty? They must!
Pain produces new life and new growth
for everyone and everything.
comfort all living things
as we reach and stretch
and grow in our efforts to glorify You.