Turn and Grow—It’s Plant Theology! … Hello weekend readers. The sun is out now, winds are taming down, and it is time for Al and I to work in our garden up here in New Mexico. So, I am musing about plants and the smart theology they have that is not just for the plants but for all of us as well!

Our USACE campground site is huge! It’s probably 1/3 acre if not more. In this site we have an incredible garden from the previous hosts and what a gift that is! No doubt, the previous folks really knew how to plant a garden and because of them we are now learning a lot that we needed to know! The last 3 years we have had veggies and fruits—sometimes.

There was one thing we needed to learn right away: the power of sunshine and shade! Why? Learning how to use that with any plant will keep it a lot healthier! For instance, the past couple years I have had some flowering plants in our RV but they didn’t fare very well. I forgot to move them around to get sun and then shade. It didn’t take long and the leaves were brown and falling—and the plants went kaput! I felt bad because one plant was a gift from a camper—a beautiful orchid and I didn’t do well with it and now it’s gone.

Another thing we learned is to sit at the level of your plant, or your garden plants and you’ll quickly see how they respond to both sun and shade. It is amazing how these plants will dip, dive, and turn to reach the sunlight. But they also will often turn if that sunshine becomes a furnace blast! (Like if you live in Phoenix!) That’s when it is time to turn the plant, or in the garden, to create shading times in hot afternoons.

Just like you and me, we need to turn, to adjust, to find both shade and sunlight—not only in the outdoors, but as well as in our body, soul, and mind! In my Burpee gardening book (the best for someone like me who has mostly a brown thumb-Al has the green thumb touch), they have an actual “visual model” for each of the garden projects you take on. I liked that because it gives me a better picture of how to work the soil, plant, shade, etc. Who doesn’t want a step-by-step guide when they aren’t sure about the project they are diving into?

In Scripture, the Apostle Peter also used this “step-by-step guide” in his first Epistle to the persecuted Christians living in five regions of Asia Minor (1Peter 2:21 [MSG]). He says: “This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.”

Our plants can actually be a gift from Jesus as a visual model for our lives. Think about the many passages in Scripture where we find Jesus telling us he will always be there for us, even right up to when he died and then that ‘hallelujah’ when he rose from the grave—and he is still with us now—are ‘forever gardener’!

I like to say that Jesus is telling us every day that, no matter how much our lives may spin in circles, no matter how ‘hot’ our circumstances can get, that he is there for us. He wants us to turn and grow gently toward him, just as the plant turns and grows from the needed sun and the needed shade.

If we want to thrive in this world, we would do well to embrace what the plants do—the plants that God created for us that, quite honestly, gives us a “step-by-step” in how we can live our lives! Creation can tell us a lot if we watch, see and listen to it.

When I finished this devotion, I remembered that when we left last year, Al pruned our peach tree, our Texas Lilac, and our two rose bushes. So, I went outside to look at them and I saw new buds on the peach tree and Lilac bush. The two rose bushes now have beautiful green leaves on the stems and honestly, the plants seem very happy! Then I paused, and realized that I just had a lesson from Jesus and his “plant theology” for my own life. Who’d a thought a plant could do something like that—Jesus did! AMEN.