This week I was reminded of a science experiment we did as a class in early elementary school. We were experimenting to see what soil conditions plants best grow in. we germinated seeds and grew plants in small plastic cups on the window sills. We had two different control groups for the experiment. Control group one was regular soil, Control group 2 was the same soil, but it was burned. The samples had been collected from the same area, but part of the earth was scorched from a wildfire, and the other part had not been. We the plants were all watered the same amount, and exposed to the same amount of sunlight. They were all grown during the same time period. Still, one of the control groups grew and thrived more than the other. It was control group two, grown in the fire scorched soil that grew healthier and larger than the other plants. It was a surprising discovery for us as kids, that land that had been exposed to fire actually grew healthier plants than that which hadn’t been.
I know God reminded me of this experiment now as a source of hope, and a reminder, that even as we watch things seemingly burn to the ground, we don’t know what is germinating under the soil, what is about to spring forth, and what beautiful and healthy life can come in the wake of that fire. Out of the ashes springs hope, life, and new beginnings. This is true not just for literal fires, like the ones we have seen burning in the world, but also for the metaphorical fires in our lives. Even when it seems like things have been burned down, and all that’s left is ashes, God uses the fertile soil of our lives and our hearts to germinate seeds that we have already planted in our lives and our hearts. Seeds that may be buried under the surface of the soil. The very fires that we go through, help the fresh life to grow and bloom. The fires that we walk through fertilize the seeds in our hearts and our lives. As we enter the new year, instead of looking back at what went wrong last year, or reeling from the fires that have gone through our lives, or desperately trying to fix things with new year’s resolutions, recognize the seeds that you have planted. Recognize that every day we get to show up, and bring all of our experiences to the table, even our scorched soil. And sometimes the scorched soil of our past hurts, pains, trials, and experiences, is the very fertile ground from which God can grow the seeds of our purpose and our hearts desires.
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