12 April 2016

We All Bear Growth Rings

I am grateful that the Bible is full of agricultural metaphors, stories, and parables. We read of mustard-seed faith, abiding in the vine, and bruised reeds. Why am I grateful? Agricultural metaphors capture the realities of the sanctification process. Farmers, florists, arborists, and botanists will tell you that plants take time to mature. There are seasons of flourishing, seasons of drought, and seasons of damage.

Have you ever looked at a cross section of a tree? The rings provide a striking visual representation of the tree's development. When you look, you can see seasons of great growth and flourishing. But you can also see seasons where there appears to be almost no appreciable growth. Indeed, there are seasons of disease and infestation and fire that permanently scar the tree, yet often it continues to grow.

I think God gave us so much botanical imagery because he wanted us to understand that Christian growth is a lifelong process, marked by times of seemingly unrelenting growth, times of stagnation, and times of damage, but God, by His Spirit, continues to grow and mature His children. 

I wrote this poem yesterday as I was thanking God for His persistence in my sanctification.

an acorn planted
becomes a mighty giant
...but not today 

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