It was cool and wet as we cycled up the driveway yesterday. I rode most of the way to work with W before turning around. Our path cuts through the Juanita Bay wetlands, a quiet park filled with plants and animals. People pause on their walks, leaning over the sides of the rails to take photos, paint, or just watch nature.
Specialized foliage thrives in the swamp. The alders and wetland shrubs relish their muddy feet. The beaver family and a few herons share the marshes with various frogs, ducks, and geese. None of these would be happy in the desert or would consider it an ideal place to live. On the other hand, most tortoises, toads, and Arizona lizards would hate the damp.
As I cycled past, I marveled at God's specificity: each creature has a place where it is safe and nourished. So also he cares for each one of us. We may be more mobile and adaptable with our surroundings, but each of us looks for a place to use our gifts, education, and interests to greatest benefit.
When our environment is welcoming, we unfurl like the new leaves of the spring. The Spirit uses us to bless those around us with spiritual fruit or godly and human knowledge. When the surroundings become hostile, we withdraw both ourselves and our gifts. We accept that it is time to find a new place in Christ's Body, the Church. Saturating ourselves with scripture and its wisdom helps us recognize how God wants us to grow where he has planted us, and when the time is ripe for change.
*This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8 NEV
*But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
*But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.
His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Ephesians 2:13-16 NIV