“The cross is gone.”
“It’s there. Look closely.”
Chase squatted in front of our verdant Easter resurrection garden, his fingers searching and eyes expectant for nothing but flower. Our strong-willed younger son enjoys being right as much as he enjoys a tickling match with his brother and dad.
“Oh…yup, it’s there. Told you.”
“What!” I squawked like a parrot from its high perch, my face breaking into a grin matching his mischievous one.
“It grew really fast.”
Had it? We created the pot-base garden the last week of March, nearly two months prior, planting seeds just below the surface of dark and moist dirt. Jesus’ tomb was a tiny flower-pot framed by a large rock on one side and laying atop a bed of pebbles, and the three crosses were sticks collected in our yard and glued together.
It wasn’t much to look at, but we began spotting minute dots of growth a couple of days later. Bright green spots of hope broke through the dirt womb, living seeds bursting with new life.
We headed inside, my mind on Chase’s Kindergarten graduation the next morning. Where had the past 9 months gone? The days had raced each other like Indy cars, speeding into weeks and months, and finally seasons with no red light in sight.
Seasons of laughter and joy and tears and frustration, life lessons that pain and pull and push us onto our knees before the One who set our lives into motion.
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Parents warily watch the clock hands move, turning forward and pressing moment into memory. We dread today’s relentless passage into tomorrow. Chubby cheeks turn into maturing markers of emotion and mirrors of truth, and we notice small hands fill too well the gaps in our time-lined palms.
A few days later, Chase smooths out the waves of a frown across my forehead, his soft fingers brushing across my soul. We’re in a difficult season now, one testing and trying us as parents. Trevor and I often fall outside ourselves as we teach and explain and love and discipline these unique buds of life that are growing, bursting through our womb of determined protection.
But…always…God’s mercy is in the heavens, and His faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Today He lovingly reminded me that our seedlings aren’t meant to be hoarded under shaking, cupped hands, blocking their growth for safety’s sake. They’re His seedlings, prepared specifically to grow in His perfect timing - up through His hands - even as they let go of mine.
Trust me. So I hand Him the watering can, yet again, stepping out of the sunlight’s sometimes scorching rays, squinting as the light hits its target – my seedlings.
Two precious seedlings.
And He patiently points. Look. The cross. It’s there among the green seedlings, standing firm, unfailing. Jesus is the same today, tomorrow, and forever. A promise from God’s word, written across my heart from my own journey of seed to bloom.
And I remember, we’re not doing this alone, this difficult and wonderful and painful process of raising up seedlings for His glory. Jesus belongs at the heart of our seedlings as they expand and reach and grow, as their Savior, Protector, Guide, Friend.. Jesus.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children. ~ Psalm 103:17