I have several flower pots on my back patio that I peruse every morning. It is a life-infusing start to my day. I enjoy seeing the blooms emerge into colorful flowers and watching how various types of flowers differ from and complement each other. I trim back the old flowers that have withered and faded and water the plants every other day. In doing this, I become very familiar with my flowers. I feel sad when one struggles and even a bit of personal responsibility if a plant dies. When my flowers are healthy and vibrant, I feel a sense of pleasure and well-being.
In one pot, I have some pansies that have survived winter, and that is quite a feat here in Oklahoma! I put them in the shed last winter, so they weren’t whipped around by the frigid, north wind, but they still endured sparse sunlight and very cold temperatures. They were happy when I brought them back outside in the spring. I could almost hear them breathe a sigh of relief. Needless to say, I am very familiar and somewhat protective of these pansies. They are not particularly robust this year and have not grown to fill the whole pot, but they are still blooming.
There are so many illustrations of spiritual things in nature. I consider it a gift to see those parallels, because it helps me better understand the spiritual truths. One morning, two weeks ago, during a routine watering, I was startled by what I saw. Stretched in all directions flat across the surface of the soil, in my pansy pot, was a weed. Why were you startled, you ask? I was startled, because it caught me off-guard. This weed covered the full surface of the dirt. It wasn’t small. And given the size of the weed, it had been there for several days, yet I had not noticed. It lay there quietly growing, insidiously disguising itself among the green leaves of the pansy. Left unnoticed, it would eventually have choked out the delicate life of the flowers.
Are you seeing the spiritual parallel? Our lives are represented by the pansy. Like a flower we are made to grow and blossom. We may struggle at times, but we are designed to thrive and radiate beauty and glorify God. And weeds will come. It’s not a question of if they will come, but when. Weeds are hearty. They have the ability to grow and reproduce rapidly. They are capable of blending in with the plants among which they grow. And not only blending but intertwining with. When I plucked the weed from my pansy pot, I had to do it carefully. The weed was the same color as the leaves of the pansy. As I searched for the base of the weed, I had to gently pull away the stems of the flower. Had I not, I would have pulled part of the flower up with the weed.
Like a flower that is threatened by the life-choking weed, we too are threatened by sin. And like the weed, sin is insidious; often encroaching on us without our noticing; subtly stifling our growth and beauty. Sin unattended, grows, increases in strength and chokes the life and beauty out of us. We may be alarmed, just like when I saw the weed in the flower pot, to see that sin has crept in to our lives and entangled us. But alarm is a good thing. It leads to action. We must uproot the sin…and get back to the business of growing.