A friend of mine gave me an amaryllis bulb just before Christmas. I watered it, gave it light, moved it to a new spot, talked to it…nothing. I thought I saw a little bit of green, but no. He gave me another one that was sprouting already. I have been giving it the same treatment, and it seems to be slowly growing. I don’t have a green thumb when it comes to indoor plants; yet for some reason, it feels important to me that I get one of these bulbs to bloom. I don’t want to fail them. I feel a responsibility for their floral lives.
So God is in all things, right? Where is God in these bulbs? Why does one grow and the other doesn’t?
That’s what life does. It’s like the bulbs are different aspects of my life. Sometimes I water, water, water. I give something lots of attention, try different things…nothing. You know that feeling of wanting so much for something to go right and it just doesn’t work out that way? It’s annoying. You think you’re doing everything right. Why is it not working? It makes you start to doubt yourself and your abilities. Maybe I’m not cut out to force bulbs.
But then there’s bulb #2. I did not have high expectations. Here we go again. Let’s see how many of these bulbs I can kill. I half-heartedly watered, put it next to a window and tried to ignore my hopes that it would grow. It is a trooper! The green leaves are slowly fighting their way out of layers of root ball. I am amazed. It still hasn’t flowered yet, but it’s alive and kicking. I don’t even feel like I have tried very hard with this one.
My life can be like this too. Some things just come naturally. Sometimes things just feel right without the expectation of needing them to be. Maybe it is work but it doesn’t feel hard, because I am drawn to doing it (as opposed to being driven). Or sometimes life unexpectedly turns a different direction, but it feels okay. Maybe I can grow plants after all.
I think God is in both of the bulbs. Many times I hear that everything happens for a reason. I disagree. I don’t think we are God’s robots. God gave us free will. We are bulbs. Sometimes we make life-giving choices and we grow from them, sometimes we don’t and we still grow from them. Or not. Whatever the choices we make, we can see the meaning in them if we look through the eyes of faith. When we look back at our life choices, we can see how God is working in us from what grows and what doesn’t.
And do you know what? Yesterday, the first bulb finally started to sprout too! So there is no clear-cut answer for what works in life and what doesn’t. But I’m convinced God is in all of it anyway. Wherever there is life and love, God can’t help but be a part of it.