I happen to live in a neighborhood where all the lawns were originally sodded with Bermuda grass. A few people have transitioned to fescue, but only a few. What that means is at this time of year my neighbors and I are waiting for our lawns to come out of dormancy. Through the winter months we have been looking out our windows at lawns that are dreadfully brown. We are more than ready to once again see the vibrant green of life beginning to emerge. But it hasn’t happened yet!
Even though my lawn is still brown, I decided to mow it this week. That may sound strange but there were a few reasons I decided to do so. First, we had gotten a call from the people who keep the weeds at bay saying they were coming to do a treatment. And, my neighbor has a couple of trees that seem to be having some trouble keeping their leaves this spring and the wind always seems to be blowing in my direction. As soon as a leaf springs to life on either of his two front yard trees, it dies and falls off the tree and the wind has done a good job of depositing those leaves in my yard. Since I didn’t want whatever this treatment is to be wasted on the dead leaves that are covering my side yard, I decided my mower would easily pick up the leaves if I connected the grass catcher. I also thought having everything uniform for whatever they were going to do to the lawn might be a good thing as well. So, I attached the contraption that catches grass clippings to my trusty mower and went about the task of mowing my brown, seemingly dormant lawn.
My surprise came when I began mowing the part of my lawn where there were no leaves to fill up the grass catcher. It was still catching grass. I still needed to stop and empty it on occasion. Apparently even in its state of brown dormancy there was some growing going on through the winter. It wasn’t a lot of growth. It was almost indiscernible. But after I finished mowing the lawn, I could definitely see a difference.
Somehow my grass cutting experience turned my thoughts to our spiritual lives. There are times, like the summer, when growth is taking place and it is really easy to see. During those times we drink in the nourishment that the Lord provides, we bask in the light of his presence and our faith flourishes. There are times when I enter into worship and it seems every word and every song touches something in my soul. There are times when I hear preachers and teachers open the Word and it is as if my eyes have been opened to new realities of the faith that draw me closer to the Lord. There are times when I engage in outreach events that encourage me in my attempts to follow Jesus and through those experiences my faith is lifted to new levels.
There are other times, however, that seem more like winter. My faith seems less vibrant. I read the Word and it seems to have little effect. I pray and I wonder if God is listening. I try to reach out in love to others and am met with apathy at best. What I have come to understand is that even in those times, God is doing a work in my life. There is some growing going on, it just may not be quite as discernable as it is during the other times but it is growth just the same and it is absolutely necessary.
Somehow I am encouraged to know that God uses every season of our lives to do his good work of transformation in us. We can count on his promise that he will “never leave nor forsake us,” and that promise can help carry us along when God seems distant and our faith feels dormant.
Diane said just the other day, “I can’t wait for the grass to get green again!” I feel the same way. I actually like the weekly ritual of taking care of my lawn through the spring, summer and fall. I also like the times when it feels like my faith is growing in a robust way. I love the sense of growing closer to Jesus during the summery days of my faith development. I just want to make sure I don’t discount what I can learn and the growth that is taking place in those seemingly dormant times.
God doesn’t waste anything and can use every season of life to make us into the people he created us to be.
Growing with you in Christ,