Lush, vibrant flora of the equatorial latitudes stands in stark contrast to the rough, hardy plants found in more frigid, arctic zones, but each is suited to its climate and displays unique splendor. As Christians, we are similar to plants in that God sows us in the environments that He has chosen for us (Acts 17:26); yet, unlike the aforementioned vegetation, He often transplants us in alternating “habitats” analogous to these contrasting settings. Whereas the exotic vegetation of the tropical persuasion would quickly and understandably die in extreme cold and vice versa, God expects and provides for our eventual thriving regardless of our surroundings. This is both encouraging and sobering at the same time!
God has planted me, uprooted me, and replanted me more times than I would have chosen for myself. Often times it was when I was comfortable or had eventually eased into my surroundings after a season of adjustment and necessary transition. My first major transition occurred at the tender age of seven when I had watched my mom fight and acquiesce to her lengthy battle with cancer. Then there was getting married, adjusting to being a police officer, and then stepping down from that career at age thirty in obedience to the Lord to raise four children whom I met on that job and subsequently adopted. More recently it has been transitioning from homemaking, child-rearing, and part-time Christian service here to full-time Christian service at this vital ministry. In each setting and with each transition, God has had a good and abiding work that He has wanted to do both in and through me.
God wants His children to be figurative “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:3) wherever we’re planted because “by His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT). So what is your setting and climate, dear sister? Is it fiery hot, barren and dry; balmy, warm, and lulling; frigid, biting, and unfeeling; or moderately balanced and invigorating? Is it obscure or conspicuous? Wherever you do find yourself, know that the divine Gardener has a good purpose in mind not just for you in your current setting, but for those around you; so sprout, don’t pout for the Gardener’s glory!
Melissa Smith is the Women of Character Coordinator at America’s Keswick. She has the privilege and honor of ministering to the colony men’s wives and girlfriends, the Barbara’s Place women, and some women from the community who God brings to America’s Keswick for help or care. She and Bill, her husband of 18 years, have four adopted children ages 17 to 24. Her fervent desire is to point women to Christ and His sufficiency, provision, and promises.