17 months ago, I planted nearly a thousand bulbs at our parsonage. While that sounds like a lot, let me tell you, a bag of 100 crocus bulbs are cheap and they plant easily when the soil has already been worked up and is ready. It was a lot of hard work, but the results come spring were stunning. Tulips, daffodils, allium, crocus, wolf’s bane. Purples, oranges, yellows, whites. Glorious sweeps of color.
When we moved in October, I knew that the bulbs were staying in the ground. First of all, I wasn’t sure how many would actually repropigate… although I have high hopes. I also knew I didn’t have the space to plant them in our rental house. And it was nice to leave a place better than we found it – to leave a gift of life and joy for the families that will come after ours. Pastor Matt and I had coffee the other day and he was excited to hear that the tulips planted near the house were their wedding colors.
At the same time, as the snow turns to rain, and the grass starts to emerge from under the blanket of white, I’m peering out my window looking for those pops of purple. A few weeks early perhaps, but a good warm spell just might wake them up. I’m peering out my window for crocus that were never planted.
Then again, I also don’t know what surprises await me in the flower beds surrounding the garage. Everything was dead and dried up when we moved in… I might just have a surprise of my own.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. (1 Cor. 3:6)
We never quite know what seeds have been planted ahead of us and what has been lying fallow until another came along to water.
In ministry there are constant discoveries – purple crocus bursting forth in the midst of the cold, dark ground. Everyday I get phone calls from people who have hearts for mission and who are excited to join this effort to end malaria. In so many cases, it was not me who did the work, but district leaders, faithful lay people, inspired pastors who have been planting and watering.
This is a time in this work I’m doing, however, where I know we are still waiting. There is so much just underneath the surface, just about to burst forth and while it is exciting to know and trust and believe that God is working in our midst and stirring up our hearts… at the same time, I’m ready for it all to be made known. I’m ready for armfuls of tulips and daffodils and for whole lawns covered in crocus. I’m ready to see the fruits. I’m ready to hear that we have reached our goals, surpassed our goals, and to hear about all of the lives being changed and transformed, both in our backyards and on the other side of the world. I’m ready to see the glorious day when a child no longer dies from malaria.
I look out my window and the grey sky says back: not yet.