Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Bloom( 11/22/12)
Bloom where you are planted and where you are transplanted
By Suzanne R
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Into this pathetic scene comes a surprising source of hope. It is a shipment of young eucalyptus trees, a gift of the Australian government. Planted near a river which still sluggishly meanders through valleys in this wasteland, with the promise of outside help for a year or two to get them well established, these trees begin the reversal of this environmental disaster. Their roots go down deep searching for water. The roots also spread broadly, preventing the leaf litter being washed or blown away. Over time, the leaf litter breaks down to create nutrient rich soil. The trees grow tall and mature. Their tiny pink blossoms open unobtrusively, quite unlike the gorgeous huge peonies which are the pride of the people in whose land they have been relocated but which could never survive here. Unlike those gaudy flowers with their oversized heads, these small gum blossoms are contributing to the hope of this land’s reclamation from the desert.
Each year, the gums blossom, the flowers opening, fading and falling without anybody’s observation or applause. Year by year, gumnuts form, their seeds falling onto the increasingly healthy ground below. There is still very little rainfall, but more than there was. The climate patterns are changing, slowly but surely. The eucalyptus forest creeps further up the valleys, away from the river. Other types of plant life appear, and animal life follows.
Not unreasonably, there is debate about how appropriate it is to bring in trees from abroad for reforestation in Asia. Undoubtedly is far better to find local trees which will send out roots deep and wide and to reclaim the land.
Sometimes, though, there isn’t anything happening locally.
The point of this article is to plead with fellow Christians from around the world to bloom not just where we’re planted, but to relocate to places where the land is spiritually bare. Believers often come from resource rich lands where we are well supported to grow tall and strong, to bloom and reproduce, and where we bring glory to our Maker and Sustainer. However, Scripture suggests that our Lord would have some of us relocate to parts of the world where spiritual desertification is stark.
In Central Asia, there are communities of thousands who have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. The people here rub their prayer beads repetitively, mumbling their prayers, seeking somehow to build merit with the powers that be in this world. Where are the Christians who come with a message of hope and reconciliation?
In Northern Africa and the Middle East, fiercely religious men and women live out every aspect of their lives in obedience to and fear of a divine power who will judge. They need to hear of our Lord’s mercy, for they too can be recipients if only they accept the gift offered freely through the Son of God Himself. Yet how can they hear if they live in a spiritual desert? Who will tell them?
If only there were Christians living in nearby places who would cross barriers of language and culture and share the good news of salvation. Without question, this is far and away the most ideal means of bringing life and hope to spiritual deserts. Supporting believers in nearby ethnic groups to reach out to their neighbours is paramount. But sometimes, when necessary, it is time to bring trees from across the world to put down roots, to spread their roots out, and to live out their lives for the purpose for which they were created in a land which needs life.
People of God, we are called to bloom, to thrive and to reproduce … but not necessarily where we were initially planted.
Where would God have YOU live for Him?
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