Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Second Growth

Here in this part of North Carolina it has been a hot and dry summer. My garden, as I'm sure the gardens of others were as well, was suffering because of it. I had gone down to check on it only to see a lot of yellowing, wilted plants that I worried were not going to last much longer. I had tried to keep it watered but with the garden being on my parent's property and having to use their well, I had to be careful. My aging dad was worried about his well going dry, so it was just the barest of watering. I tried giving it extra fertilizer but without water, it was not much, if any, help. I had planted green beans that never came up, and okra that only grew half a foot tall and stopped. All for the lack of what they needed.
 Then we received the answer to a prayer, it rained. The first day was a real gulley washer of a downpour. My front yard that slopes downhill looked like a lake because it was raining so hard the water couldn't run off fast enough. After the downpour ended we got some residual rain that helped. The next day we got a couple of really good showers, heavy, but not so heavy that top soil moved. I drove home during one, smiling the entire way. Getting caught in construction traffic didn't even bother me like it otherwise would have. It was raining.
 Once the rain ended I picked up my bucket and knife and walked down to check the garden. In just a short two days my garden had returned to life. What had been yellow and wilted was not standing tall and returning to green. Plants were covered in blossoms and the beginnings of more produce. My tomatoes were perkier and heavy with those beloved summer fruits..
As I began to see what was available for harvest my mother walked down to see for herself. Her first words were "second growth, its taken its second growth." I couldn't help but agree and I couldn't have been any happier. While I would have loved for the other things to have grown, what I was getting was the best ever and I was thankful.
 As my mother left to go back inside I considered her "second growth" comment. There was another way to see the results of second growth.
 Every one of us are born into a sinful nature and are sinners. No matter how good we try to be, we still sin. There are no minor sins or worse than that sins, sin is sin and its all bad.
 As sinners, we are like that garden without rain. We are planted (born) and we begin to grow. Life is a our garden, and it is up to us as to whether we will produce. When we hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit and give our life to Jesus, we begin a saved life. When this first happens we act in our joy, sharing, working, worshiping without hesitation. 
But if we neglect our calling, even though we never lose it, we suffer. We grow weak, weary and wilted. We produce very little in the way of glorifying God. Without the feeding of our faith through fellowship with other believers we grow weak. Without feeding our knowledge by reading the Word, we wilt. Without spending time in communion with God, we grow weary and are more susceptible to the ills of the world. 
We are tempted and lead away into the world, not hearing the voice of God speaking to us, His Spirit calling to us. The insects of sin bite at our produce, bruising and causing rot. The heat of sin bearing down on us, weakens us leaving us more available to worldly ways. While Christ our Savior never leaves us, while God never abandons us, because of the gift of free will, we are allowed to wander. We are allowed to make our own choices. We become a mere shell of what we were or what we could be..

 But let the rain of reasoning, the showers of His blessings fall upon us and we too have that 'second growth'. When we take those quiet moments to listen for His voice, we strengthen. When we join with others, when we sing songs of worship and praise, our lives change for the better. We stand strong in our faith, we share, we produce good things for the Kingdom of God. When we feed our soul with His Word, we learn, we grow, we better understand, and we celebrate. Our joy returns. 

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