Today I find myself fascinated by germination. My daughters love buying seed packs and planting seeds into little greenhouses for late spring planting. They love beets and poppies and snapdragons and lemon basil, and I smile when I see their little signs.
I think about all those little dried seeds that suddenly come to life with oxygen, warmth, and water. So easy, so predictable.
I’ve been praying about growth and maturity with my daughters and what it means to continue to grow up well. When I compare their growth patterns to other children, or even to my own growing up years, I can easily feel worried, frustrated, confused, or even scared.
But then I read about germination.
I learn that some seeds require light; some need darkness. Some need fire to break apart their seeds; some need an animal to digest them to then grow. Some need chilling temperatures; some need extreme heat. Some seeds germinate quickly and others take a very long time. Some seed exteriors require years of softening and disintegration before maturity comes. Other exteriors fall away with the slightest addition of water.
As I read of all this variation, I think that I cannot prescribe a growth pattern for my daughters. God may send darkness and despair to mature them; He may put them in the glorious light of well-being and prosperity. He might let them know the icy depths of loneliness or fear; He might put them under the Refiner’s fire of heat they can hardly stand. They may, like me, find peace as they turn 40 years old and wander, as I did, through a lifetime of desert. Or they may find wisdom, joy, and rootedness as teenagers.
It’s possible. Anything’s possible.
God knows exactly how we’re going to grow best including when, where, and with or through whom. It will not match another kind of seed.
I remember that everything that’s happening to us is part of our particular growth pattern. We can trust the one who planted us and who knows the number of our days. We can trust that all things might be used for our development if we allow it. And we can trust that, no matter how different our growth looks from others, we are following the growth pattern marked out for us.