The boy and I, we snuggle on the couch and read. We read about a garden, tended and growing. We read about the rows of flowers. Colors, striped and assorted and fragrant with summers perfume. We read about vegetables grown to sustain a body. The body bent and pulling and sweating summers heat. We read about the fence surrounding that garden. The fence putting borders around the harvest, a safe place to grow what’s been tended. And in one corner of that garden a thin, spiny shoot pushes it’s way through earth, feeling encouraged to try, especially when it can see the results of all the others, and I’m mildly curious.
But the story, it begins to break, and after the media reels, and the blogs moan, and the early morning phone calls cry, I begin to know it’s brokenness.
See, that stalk that barely is, is Chamomile. And although the tips eventually flower into daisy like faces, the story reads about its trampling first. So that perfect summer flower doesn’t start with a silver spoon in her mouth and my guess is, neither have you. My guess is silver, for you, is just another crayon in a cardboard box.
The story threads the beginning of this Chamomile reaching up towards a life. But pain, the destructive kind, nearly takes the very breath of an herb meant to soothe. And the truth is, we’ve all felt the naive gardner’s knee press down on our dreams, nearly breaking the progress of what and where we thought God intended us to journey. The truth is, we’ve all been landed on by an out-of-control dog, jumping over our neat little fences. Those fences protecting our neatly processed faith. Those fences put up intentionally to keep out stray dogs, stray golf balls, and stray words. Words that break us down at the stem. The point where we are weakest. The spot where, when trampled on, there just isn’t much left of us. The point where pain points us straight down and the dark of the earth is our view and maybe that looks more appealing right now?
But I want to let you in on a remarkable truth. A real thing. God designed the Chamomile with this amazing resistance. Every time it’s trampled and broken, it’s reaction? It spreads. It doesn’t hole up and pull the covers over it’s head, it holds on. And it just keeps growing. It spreads to the point of overtaking that corner of the garden. And for a woman with a field of acreage, I can tell you it can take over all of it. All. Of. It! All of this life. Do you hear the truth in this herb? It’s prayer is never, Why Me, God? It’s instead silent. Waiting to hear God give direction. Cause God can take pain and spread relief.
Oswald Chambers says it like this: “Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to our prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.”
And so the Chamomile teaches me to look not at how to grow the garden, but how to turn my bruised and beaten heart towards it’s Creator and keep my focus. ‘Cause the Master Gardner knows each seed, each life, each plant. He also knows each pain, each loss, each journey, and He knows the remedy. And He intends to grow you beautifully. He intends to turn you into this amazing flower who, because of your experience, can now bring a soothing tea to sit next to those who also have felt the heel trample.
Keep your focus, friend. We’re intended to lift each other. Soothe each other with prayer. We’re intended to look not at the donkey and the parade and the palm branches waving, but on the face of the Redeemer.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
You. Are. More. Than.