And I'm always amazed by something. Not the trees and bushes that just go naked in the wintertime and then start sprouting new growth when springtime rolls around. Although that is awesome in its own way. But even more fantastic are the plants that all but disappear during winter. They die completely away and yet they come back WAY bigger and stronger than the year before. How do they DO that? Of course I know the answer is the roots, but the fact that I can't see what's going on under all that dirt still makes the discovery of new plants so mysterious and enjoyable. (Last year I planted 2 tiny patches of forget-me-nots, and this year there are at least a dozen patches in the corners of my garden. CRAZY!)
It makes me think of sanctification. Seems like it works much the same way. We plant seeds, water, fertilize, trim (just as we pray, read Scripture, sit under Godly teaching and surround ourselves with wise counsel), but the true success of a plant/tree/flower is what happens under the dirt completely beyond our control. (Sanctification.) It's out of our hands and mostly invisible, but it brings about such significant results. (Doesn't the Holy Spirit surprise us in similar ways? I love it when that happens.)
I'm not the best gardener. At all. I'm learning a lot, and I'm enjoying my amateur attempts at growing things that are beautiful as well as things that are delicious and nutritious, but I will never be an expert at this. Similarly, I'm so grateful that the work of sanctification is not dependent upon my ability to do everything right. I fail miserably over and over again, but the Holy Spirit continues to work under the surface and develop roots in the depths of my heart and soul. And every time I sense his presence in my thoughts/actions/reactions (in other words, the very few times I actually DO get something right), it's even more surprising and exciting than those pretty little flowers or new strawberry plants that sprouted from the underground work of nature that I didn't even know was happening all winter long. God is so creative and awesome. Not only does he do the work of sanctification in us. He makes it fun. So grateful.