A few weeks ago, our third-grade class planted marigolds. Part of our experiment was to watch one grow in the light and watch one grow in the dark. The students then had to make a prediction about which one would grow the best. I smiled to myself, thinking, "We'll see.." as some of them thought the plant would grow best in the dark.
A few days went by, and the marigolds basking in the sun showed no sign of growth; however, the four little seeds planted in the dark all had sprouted quickly and were reaching up tall. While they had white weaker stems, I was surprised they had grown! I asked a couple of fellow teachers as to why they thought that was. One told me that it could be the temperature of where our plants were. The other one said to me that it is typical for plants in the dark to grow fast as they try hard to find their source of light.
The following weekend, I helped lead a junior high youth conference, and the speaker began talking about the Parable of the Sower. As I listened, God began to reveal to me the sweet spiritual lesson hidden in our 3rd Grade experiment. Soon after, our plants in the sunshine grew slow and steady. They had a dark stem and grew thick green leaves. Later, our plant in the dark began to wither. I will never forget sharing this sweet lesson with my students:
The plant in the dark did not feel true sunlight and warmth, so it grew quickly up out of the soil, to try and find its source of energy. It thought the fluorescent light in our room could help it grow; however, it only lasted a few days. Don't we often do the same thing? We find something in life that we think gives us true life like friends, a job, a relationship, you name it. It may last a week, a month, maybe even years. In the end, however, it will only leave you withering away.
Oppositely, the plant placed in the sunlight felt the warmth underneath the soil and took its time to grow. It knew when it came out of the soil, it would have what it needed: a true source of energy. They've continued to grow strong and are multiplying their leaves along with strengthening their roots. Often we feel we are not growing fast enough and wish we would master things quicker or be the best wife/husband or mother/father we want to be. Laying in the light of the True Source of Energy can take time to grow. But in the end, it's the only way to grow.
One of my students had the best idea to place the dying plant into the light to see if it could still grow. Three of the seeds didn't make it, but one has become stable and is now adding new leaves. It's never too late to run into the Light. His eternal Life continually gives and is available to help us all grow. These sweet plants are now a daily reminder to me to find my energy, love, and life from Him, my True Source of Light.