In the weeks leading up to my wedding, I was gifted two baby succulents and became deeply invested in their flourishing. Of course, I had killed every single plant I had ever cared for, but this time, I was determined to be a successful plant mom. After scorching the leaves in direct sunlight then drowning them in too much water, I learned that succulents need a gravely, rocky soil for their rot-prone roots. They need space to breathe in oxygen and let the water drain out.
When I repotted them in their appropriate soil, the plants struggled with their new surroundings momentarily, dropping three leaves each (sending me into a panic spiral), and then suddenly, three tiny, buttery, supple leaves emerged from the top of the plants. After all the change, the plants were finally thriving.
John 12:24 reminds us that life often comes out of death. When we grapple with difficult life situations or transitions that feel overwhelming, the Lord often uses those moments to teach us and help us "bear fruit." Even in the happiest transitions (like a wedding, for example), an element of grief can still be present as you observe the ending of a season.
Just like my tiny succulents, when we're pushed into unknown circumstances, even if they are ultimately good for us, we may falter. Yet, as we struggle in the unknown, dying to our old selves and searching for stability, God may use that season to continue to transform us into the people that He wants us to be.
To guard us from hardship and suffering, John 15:5 points us to our need to "abide" in Jesus, to practice resting and trusting in Jesus' faithfulness. When we abide in Him for our strength and our peace, He provides for us. I am grateful for God's living, active Word (Hebrews 4:12) that speaks to our hearts clearly and consistently, while teaching us how to abide in Him.
My tiny succulent plants needed the special gravel soil so their roots had space to breathe and thrive. Likewise, in seasons of turmoil, we need to be intentional about building space in our schedules so we can spend time with our Heavenly Father and breathe deeply while we find peace, comfort, and perspective in God's Word.
How can you create time in your schedule to spend time with the Lord? How will you practice "abiding" in Jesus?