|The Sprout of the Spirit|
As unbelievable as it may seem, yesterday was the first day of spring. I’m usually not overtly happy with the arrival of this season since I have pretty severe allergies; but this year, after such a harsh and long winter, all I have to say is, “bring on the pollen and the Allegra D!”
At any rate, God’s perfect timing found me e-mailing some rambling about the agony of the “growing season” to a dear friend at the break of dawn yesterday morning. I didn’t do it intentionally thinking about it being the first day of spring and all…but again, there are no coincidences in this life. The thing is that the e-mail got me thinking more about the subject...about the works of the Holy Spirit as He grows His fruits in our souls.
First, He comes in, and like the Good Farmer or Gardener, He clears the fields and prepares the soil to then plant the seeds that eventually will produce His fruits of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I thought of how that initial period is one of great energy. The dynamic actions of the Holy Spirit create a feeling of rush when His presence is so vivid we can almost see the Hand of God with our very eyes. But once those seeds are neatly packed in the ground, however, things begin to slow down. It is sort of a more “hands off” approach at this time. And again, like the Good Farmer, the Holy Spirit doesn’t walk away from a newly planted field. He doesn’t abandon it. He continues to nurture it, but it is a different stage. It is the stage when His main job is to just keep watch. To us, however, this is the period which often seems like we can’t hear or feel Him anymore. It is the growing season. It is the time when the storms hit. It is the time when the fiery trials are ignited. It is the time of testing. It is the time of struggle. It is the time we break.
Like the seeds in the ground, we struggle as we break free from our shells. The seed has to be destroyed before the sprouts can come out. It is the time we experience the pain of breaking out of our old self so we can become the promised new creation.
Then, the feeble, little sprouts begin to pop out. Those weak, tiny shoots have to dig through the layers of dirt day after day… painfully struggling to get to the top. All these happens while the underground world tries to eat them…but always protected by the watchful eye of the Good Farmer. From our perspective, however, on the surface, we see nothing, we hear nothing…we feel nothing, except the pain.
After a period that seems endless, finally a thin, faint, green thing peaks its head above the dirt, where it bathes in the sun light. What a miracle! But that’s just the first sign, because there is still a long way for that tiny sprout to produce any fruit…and that’s just one…there are eight more to go. But at least now, we can see something. This is when we see His hand again, on the other side of our time of great trial.
I look out the window and see the falling snow. I think, what in the world is going on? Spring is here, sprouts should be out! Obviously, the growing season for my fruit of patience is still a long ways ahead…but the more I think about it, the more I realize the amazing work of God in us. I look back and see all He has done and continues to do day in and day out…and I’m in awe. Praise Him for spring! Praise Him for the growing season and the growing pains. That’s how we know that our faith is for real and that He is here.