NE CANNOT READ THE GOSPELS WITHOUT COMING TO THE CONCLUSION that the disciples didn’t “get it.” They spent three years with Jesus, watched miracle after miracle, saw people raised from the dead and food distributed to thousands from essentially nothing. Yet they saw Jesus only through eyes that had been trained to look for an earthly kingdom established by an earthly Messiah. A heavenly kingdom, no matter how many times it was defined by Jesus, just didn’t penetrate their thinking.
I would never be like that. I’m wiser, more open, and think more clearly than they did. With my gift of discernment, I would have seen Jesus for who He was. “Messiah” wouldn’t need to be spelled out for me. At least, that’s what I thought until a recent experience opened my eyes.
This past summer wasn’t my most pleasant because of some family issues, lots of work deadlines, and essentially no vacation time. In fact, summer was so busy that I never could get around to doing something I always enjoy—planting flowers around the house and in planters on the back deck. I was reminded of my lack of time each morning when I would go out to the deck to feed the birds and squirrels and gaze at the one planter that had not been put away from last summer. Then to make matters worse, a weed began to grow in the planter.
Every morning I would vow to pull it, but I was always too rushed and would put it off until “tomorrow.” Every morning the weed would mock me as it reminded me of my inability to manage my time better and squeeze in pulling a few weeds and planting a few flowers. So the weed continued to grow. And grow. In fact, it got so tall we could actually see it outside our kitchen window.
This is embarrassing, I thought. What if we have guests over? What will they think? But truth be told, I was actually becoming intrigued by the weed, and a competition developed: Which one of us would survive the summer? The weed was given no water, no fertilizer, and absolutely no help from me, but it continued to grow. So, who would last longer?
One night a summer storm arose, and in the morning I found the weed fallen over. I was surprised to find myself quite sad at the sight. It was like seeing an injured friend. I lifted it back up to its full height and propped it against the house so it would have support. I even watered it. Then three days later, it happened.
I walked into the kitchen that morning just as I always did, pulled up the kitchen shade, and was greeted not by the weed but by a fully exposed sunflower! It seemed to laugh at me as it danced in yellow happiness in the sunlight.
That’s when it hit me. I was no different from the disciples. I saw a weed. I treated it like a weed. I expected a weed. But in reality, it was a beautiful sunflower. I had to smile.
“Thank You, Lord, for gently finding a way to open my eyes. Today I’ll stop looking for weeds and begin expecting flowers.”
Merle Poirier is a wife, mother, and technology projects coordinator for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines.