How often have you found a treasure in the least expected place? If you are a thrift store or antique lover, the thrill of the hunt probably drives you on. I was thinking about finding treasures in the least expected places this last week, while I was weeding my garden. It definitely looked more like a ‘weed garden’ than a ‘vegetable garden’! I had to remove 75% of the growth in some areas as I looked for treasure. Somehow when you are gone for a week and leave a freshly cleared patch of ground, the weeds seem to swarm in. It can be rather discouraging looking at that mess and wondering if anything good will come of it.
It can often feel like that when you start something new like attend a new conference (where you don’t know anyone), move to a new state, start a new job, begin a new season of life. Often the hardest parts of it stand out the most, making it feel so overwhelming. And we wonder when it will pay off. For a parent it might mean seeing the living room strewn with toys, dishes undone, and hearing the tantrum upstairs. For someone in the office, it may mean seeing the unending emails. And we wonder if anything good will grow out of this.
But underneath all those weeds, there is new growth. The green beans are sprouting, there are little baby squash plants, and the kale is just coming up. With careful searching, perseverance, and an eye for what is true and good, new growth can be found. Perhaps in that sea of people at your conference, new job or new church, you will find someone who will be your life long friend. Perhaps when your child’s tantrum is finished, you’ll see evidence of a heart change and that something you said bore fruit. The growth is there, but it may require some weeding, perseverance and searching to find it.
This last week, we had our van loaded up for vacation and we were just about to load the kids in to begin our drive when we received notice that our place for the next three nights was canceled. And we realized that our son had a low grade fever and wasn’t feeling well. It was a discouraging start to our trip. So we gave him some meds (which did the trick, and he felt great the rest of the week) and starting searching online for somewhere to stay that night. We ended up staying 30 min further away than we wanted to, but it turned out great! Another place had a last minute cancellation, which was the perfect space for our family and dog. And when we started exploring this new, unplanned city we found ourselves in, we found an amazing 400+ acre free nature park which housed bison, an elk, birds, turtles, and hiking trails. Our family loved starting our vacation there! It was hard to see when we first got in the van with a sick kid and cancelled plans, how there could be good underneath. But the Lord worked out all the plans.
God is constantly working, even if we can’t see it. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19) We need to trust Him, persevere, and clean out the weeds until His new life is visible and ready to flourish.