My garden is springing to life. Peas, lettuce, carrots, sunflowers, basil, spring onions, all are showing signs of life, throwing up those vital first shoots and leaves, vying for the maximum amount of sunshine they can soak up.
Yet, sitting on my windowsill is something else. Something a little more special, yet it refuses to show anything. Even though it's been in the soil for longer than anything else and gets that little bit of extra special attention. Every morning I wake up and peer over the ledge of the pot hoping that this will be the morning that first shoot appears, and every day I am disappointed.
I'm so tempted to dig in a little, to push the top soil aside to make sure something is happening down there, but I don't want to do anything to harm what fragile life might be wakening below the surface.
It reminds me a little of what ministry can sometimes feel like. We can water and tend and watch with baited breath, hoping that there is something happening below the surface, when it looks like nothing is changing we search for signs of any difference and sit back down disappointed. Ministry, like this plant, can be a waiting game, trusting that there is more going on under the surface than meets the eye. Choosing to believe that even though we can't see what's happening there is something brewing into life below the surface of the faces we interact with day in day out.
It can be frustrating to give and give and give, to continue feeding and watering when it feels like there is no difference. But just like this plant, I trust that this waiting room period is a time when roots are being put down, when the vital work of setting the foundations is happening.
One of these mornings I'll wake up, and there'll be something different in that plant pot. And as we keep at it in ministry, plugging away at the everyday, I trust that in the same way there'll be a day when we see something happening on the outside of the lives that we see week in, week out, when we realise that all that time, nurturing and encouraging was all for a reason, as we see the spark of God's life starting to bloom in the lives of His people.