I watched it ripen. Each day, I carefully pulled aside the leaves and searched for that perfect strawberry. It clung to the plant, first as a delicate white promise then a jade-green bud and finally a pale pink fruit. Each time the sun came out, I thought about my strawberry and the healthy rays that deepened its color. Then one day, it was finished – the red, ripe scarlet of a completed fruit. Maybe I should have taken a picture or set it on my window sill as an art form. But no, I thanked God and bit into its juicy interior.
Nothing quite matches the joyful taste of harvesting a fresh strawberry from your own garden.
That experience reminded me of how the precious Gardener watches over us. He lets us cling to Him, the eternal vine, and brings us to a place where we begin to blossom. Little by little, with nourishment from the Word and life-enhancing breath from the Spirit – He forms us into tiny buds and encourages us toward maturity. The sunshine of His love and the experiences of life force us to grow until we are finally ripe for the picking, mature and ready to be used to garnish our particular places in life.
How do we learn best to become the ripened and mature fruit? By following the advice in the first part of Matt. 11:29. Jesus said, “Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it.”
To find the unforced rhythms of grace and live in them, we need to walk with Christ and cooperate with His work in us. We observe how He lived when He walked the dusty streets of Jerusalem, Nazareth and Capernaum. We spend time with Him and listen to what He wants to teach us. Then we let Him show us how to best live unforced lives that dance with the rhythms of His grace.
Nothing quite matches the joy of watching God’s work in our lives and tasting the goodness that comes after the harvest. Those unforced rhythms of grace point us toward the source of our growth – the Master Gardener himself.
~ Rebecca Thesman