by Christine Berglund
The garden is always a place of surprises. Unpredictability is one of the great joys of working with plants.
In an effort to give my borders more of a planned and organized look, I have attempted to pool certain colors into specific beds. My casual style of landscaping is not ever going to look organized!
But to my pleasant surprise, some of the results looked pretty good. When I found a stray zinnia seedling in my “red garden” with a pale yellow bloom, I immediately transplanted it to my new “yellow and orange” bed. Another of the same color, rare for my zinnias, I transplanted near the patio.
A few weeks went by and I noticed pink blooms on both. Upon further inspection, I saw that these were the larger, older blooms that had formerly been yellow. The newer blooms at the tips were pale yellow, however.
How nice! A flower that changes color! I was so pleased with it that I didn’t even get around to being upset that my careful color scheme was foiled.
It is not impossible for a bloom to subtly change color, but I had never seen such a drastic change in a zinnia.
We expect small change in our lives. I have seen some people undergo drastic improvements, and I hope I have, too.
How many times do we judge old friends on past mistakes and traits that they don’t have anymore? Do we really accept and appreciate how God transforms us more and more into the image of his dear Son?
It is possible that we really don’t give people the chance to change. While it is true that the leopard can’t change its spots (Jeremiah 13:23), there are truly some changes that we can make to improve ourselves.
It doesn’t happen easily, and it is as rare as yellow flowers turning pink.
First, there needs to be a will to change. In the language of the Bible, it is called “repentance.” A conscious decision to change for the better must be made, and an effort to make that change on an ongoing basis. My flowers didn’t turn pink overnight, and old habits die hard.
As a teenage Christian, I saw where my shyness was hindering me from doing significant work for God. How can you influence others for good or teach the good news when you don’t talk to people?
With God’s help, today nobody would know I am inherently an introvert. True change has taken place, although it didn’t happen easily.
If we judge people by what we used to know about them, we don’t give people the opportunity to show that they have grown.
This could be one reason for the adage “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household” (Mark 6:4, NASB).
Although Jesus had no mistakes in his sinless life, people close to him may not have been able to believe he could grow up and mature into the spiritual leader that others recognized him to be.
We usually don’t allow ourselves to be convinced that those around us can change for good. There is too much negative change all around, and it makes us skeptical.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
I have a long way to go to be perfect, but I’m going to start with “good.”