- Casey Bodlak
Consider the Lilies
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
- Matthew 6: 28-30 ESV
Last summer, I started to become a bit obsessed with plants. I had just moved into a house and wanted a flower bed in our front yard to add some beauty to our new home. However, even as I aspired to be a “plant lady,” I did not yet have the knowledge to actually be one. Realizing I lacked expertise, I reached out to some friends for help. They happily taught me which plants would do well in my flower bed and even gave me several plants from their own gardens to get me started. I dug the earth, planted, watered, and then watched as my first flower bed came to life. It was beautiful, and I felt accomplished. But then winter came. The temperature dropped and the bright colors faded and everything in my flower bed turned brown. Throughout the winter months, I seriously doubted that anything would regrow in the spring.
Today, as I witnessed irises unfolding in my front yard, I was amazed. I planted them last August; it is now April. The blooms are a beautiful purple with an intricate yellow pattern on each petal. Behind the irises, daffodils shed their final hues, and beside these white flowers, an azalea blushes pink. As I marvel at the beauty of these plants, I am reminded to “consider the lilies…”
When I’ve read this passage in Matthew in the past, I’ve mostly interpreted it as a comforting reminder that God will provide my most basic needs. But as I see my garden coming back to life, and as I consider the complexity of each flower I’ve planted, this verse takes on new meaning: God knows the plants!
God knows exactly what each plant needs. Have you ever gone to Lowe’s or a greenhouse and looked at those little tags on each plant? It gives the plant’s name, how much water it needs, a “hardiness” rating, the best temperature, the type of soil it requires, and any other important information the gardener will need. These tags are vital for someone like me who doesn’t have much plant knowledge. Each plant has its own set of care instructions, some more detailed than others.
Take orchids for example. Orchids are beautiful, but also very delicate. If grown indoors, their temperature must stay between 59-86 degrees. Full morning sun is their preference, but they need shade in the afternoon. Orchids require extra plant food at least once a month (more often during peak growing season), and you must wait for their soil to completely dry out before watering. The most common reason for failed growth is overwatering. Orchids require repotting, they will only bloom in the specified light, they need proper air circulation in the room to thrive and some orchids cannot survive together. Some are so sensitive that you need to wash your hands after touching one species before you touch another!
In contrast, we have pansies. These flowers are among the hardiest and easiest flowers to grow. They can withstand the winter temperatures of Virginia. Pansies can be planted when the summer weather fades and the cool of fall arrives, withstanding the cold of winter only to bloom again in the spring. They are dormant (like most plants) in the winter and then bloom again in the spring without much care.
My point in sharing about orchids and pansies is that their differences extend beyond simply the amount of water they need. Each plant is unique and must therefore be cared for in a specific way to thrive.
So it is with us. God, the Master gardener, knows us intimately. While it is comforting to know that God provides the clothes, water, and food for us, God also knows exactly what we need to thrive and grow. He knows the details of our souls and personalities. He has created each of us with a different “tag” that explains exactly what we need not only to survive, but to thrive. God wrote those tags for each of us. Mine might say something like: Thrives on committed friendships. Likes black tea in the morning. Worshiping through music draws her close to Me.
God cares that we thrive. As it says in Ephesians 2:10, He has prepared good works for each of us to walk in. He knows what those unique “good works” are and the steps it will take for us to fulfill the potential He’s given us. He desires that we grow physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in every single realm of life, because as we do, we reflect more of Him. As we reflect more of Him, He gets more and more glory because the fruit in our lives is born of His work in us. Just like the iris in my front yard survived the winter and is blooming beautifully, God is also taking care of us holistically so that we can grow and thrive in all seasons. God knows the plants. And He knows you.
Casey Bodlak. lives in Richmond, Va with her husband and two little babies. Emmaus (2 years old) and Ember ( 4 months). She is currently a stay at home Mom, and is learning to embrace that roll. She really loves the outdoors and spending time with people. She has recently gotten into writing, and the Lord has been teaching her through these little day to day connections.