Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: The Unexpected Petuniau
By Anothervoice Sunstar
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I finally quit feeling sorry for myself and got down to work pulling at those huge green spreads. When I had had enough of the sweltering heat, I reached around one of the gazebo poles to pull the last few intruders. It was only then, down on my hands and knees, with nose next to petal, that I realized, “Hey, you’re a flower!”
The previous summer, we had a smaller, more temporary gazebo with two planter hooks. We rescued two of the last blooming petunias the hardware store carried. We enjoyed the deep bluish purple from those blossoms for several months. Obviously, some of the seeds from those flowers had fallen into the space between the bricks; and, here I was, staring at a lovely, lone, dark blue blossom! How unexpected! How marvelous! What a miracle!
I admired that little flower, struggling for life. That little seed had no idea of how many obstacles would try to prevent it from growing – the incessant heat, the draught, the dog trampling over it to get to the grass, the lack of fertile soil to sustain its roots. So, I left it to fight for survival, and cherished and nurtured it for the remainder of the summer.
One evening, in the shade beneath the gazebo, a tender breeze gently cooled my arms. I meditated on that little petunia. Maybe it was the thoughts about spreading more sand along the bricks, but those thoughts led to my remembering a little girl named Sandy.
My husband and I had met her while serving as summer missionaries at a campsite at one of South Carolina’s beachfront parks. We held morning services for the campers each Sunday. Throughout the week, we had Bible story time for the children. Sandy never came on Sunday mornings, but she was there, faithfully, every weekday for the Bible story.
Most campers were only at the campsite one or two nights, or for a week at the most. Sandy and her family were different. Sandy told us that her family came to that campground every summer and stayed for three months! Sandy was eleven, and could remember this routine for at least six years. After a couple of weeks, her dad would go back to the town where they lived, work all week, then, come back to the campsite each weekend to be with them. This was why she was not allowed to come to the services on Sundays. Her family wanted her with them while dad was around, and they had no interest in coming to a church service.
One day, during the last week of our mission appointment, Sandy stayed around the picnic table after the story time was complete. We offered the children paperback copies of Good News for Modern Man every time we met. Sandy had never taken one. She had told me that she didn’t like to read. This day, however, she came and asked for one. She told us how much she had enjoyed the stories and Bible readings we had done that summer, and said she wanted to continue reading on her own.
The following day, Sandy’s mother stopped by the picnic table. She thanked us for the “book” we had given her daughter. She told us that Sandy had not stopped reading since bringing it home. She was delighted to see her daughter enjoy reading so much.
These two events, though separated by 35 years, brought to mind the same lesson, the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:3-9. Somehow, the petunia seed had been able to sustain life even with difficult obstacles to overcome. I prayed that Sandy, too, had been able to overcome the obstacles she faced and had, on one of those occasions, prayed to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior. We often don’t know the condition of the ground where we spread the seed. Jesus told us to spread His Word, and, then have faith in Him as to how the seed takes on life.
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