For the Weak and the Strong

I will never make it as a gardener. I simply don’t have the motivation to endure the back-breaking, never-ending work of weeding nor the mindset to trust the process. From the very beginning, I can’t help but sow too many seeds into pods too small for roots to grow deep and strong. As those seedlings burst forth, I stand in awe like a proud momma but dread the inevitable next step . . . thinning out the weak ones.

I can’t stand being the one who chooses which ones have to go.

It’s not surprising, as I’ve been a softy for the underdog forever. Whether it is a seedling, a teen girl struggling to find her way, or a character in a movie who never seems to catch a break, I always see the potential and will keep showing up hoping the next step is the best step for growth.

Yet when it comes to gardening, the best outcome for the harvest lies in the willingness of the gardener to remove the weakest plants for the sake of the stronger ones. Mercy, I hate that responsibility so much so that I shoved the scissors into my husband’s hand urging him to do the deed. I know, pathetic! There I stood hovering as he made the choice I could not make. He was bold and decisive, even with my commentary, handing me each sacrificed seedling one-by-one. With my hands full, I realized afresh the sacredness of the greatest sacrifice of all time.

Instead of allowing all of humanity to die in their weakness and sin, God chose the strongest of all to take our place.

God didn’t thin out the weak ones. He did the exact opposite. He took the strongest one to accomplish once and for all what the weak ones could never do on their own.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NLT).

It is safe to say that God is for the underdog. He sees us as we are, in our weakness and sin, yet envisions exactly what we can become. Isn’t that remarkable? But that is not all. Jesus, who is both fully God and fully man, had every right to refuse the call of the cross.

Yet He willingly submitted to the Master Gardner’s sheers, dying a death He did not deserve so that we could live a life we did not earn.

As a result, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes alive within us, enabling us to become strong as we are filled by the power of God’s sacrificial love. No one is left out. No one is thinned out. We all have the privilege of growing strong and able because of God’s love for us.

I guess you can say my hesitation to thin the seedlings isn’t a bad thing after all. Seeing their potential is indeed reflective of the Father’s heart. And yet, my husband’s ability to grab the shears and do the deed also reveals the character of the Father who made the most difficult decision of all – to sacrifice His Son for the sake of all His children.

Join me at Girlfriends in God to share your thoughts.

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