I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:16-17
Winter must have arrived. Not just because it has ticked over to June 1. Not just because the temperature has plummeted and it is getting colder in the mornings and evenings. But winter is here because every day I listen to stories and walk with people where struggle is a constant companion, where addiction plunges individuals and families into deep unknown places or sickness rains down, putting a real dampener on the mood. I see mental illness hover over lives like a dark cloud and uncertainty blow through like a cold front freezing people in their tracks and preventing them moving forward. People are weary, confused, tired, frustrated, lost and some are even afraid. Like the prophet Habakkuk, I have heard many people utter: “How long, oh LORD, will I call for help?” (Habakkuk 1:2). For it seems that God is taking too long to come through for them.
Are you in a similar place? Is it winter time for your soul at the moment? Are you wondering where God is or why he is not coming through for you?
If that’s you, then take hope from something that occurred to me the other day as I was putting some carrots into a bag at my local green grocer. What I saw was layer upon layer of beautifully formed carrots, lined up waiting to be selected. They were all a similar size, perfectly symmetrical, fat, strong, and clean. But that’s not what all carrots look like. The ones we see are those that have already been through the shop’s stringent criteria. The real reality of carrots is that they actually grow in the dark underground as they fight against the hard soil, and bend around rocks and stones in the ground. From the top, we see the leafy growth but we don’t see the struggle that goes on underneath the surface. We don’t see any of the process that shapes them. All we know is that in the darkness, in the struggle, they grow. God makes sure of that. It’s only when the carrots are pulled from the soil that we see what they have become, how they have been shaped. Some look like what we see in the green grocers. Some are long and skinny. Some are short and fat. Some are distorted and twisted. Some even have double roots as they go through the process of growing. But no matter what they look like, it’s their fragrance and the flavour they provide when tasted or added to dishes that makes them so appealing.
When it’s a dark time in your life, for whatever reason. When you are asking God, ‘why are you so silent’ or ‘where are you’, remember the carrot! In dark times, God is there. When the cold winds of uncertainty blow, God is at work, shaping and growing you even if you cannot see it or feel it. When the temperature plunges in your life, let your roots sink deep down into God’s love.
Carrot faith is willing to trust that God is there, even when we can’t see him. Carrot faith is willing to trust God in the process, even if we can’t understand what is happening. Carrot faith is willing to wait in the dark, knowing that in God there is no darkness in God, as 1 John declares, butthat there is a lot of God in darkness. His love is present to warm us. His grace is always surrounding us. His Spirit is at work shaping us and growing us. No matter what we look like when we are pulled from the earth and washed clean, God’s promise is that the inner strength he gives, will add flavour and appeal to whatever dish in the world he places us in.
Lord Jesus, give me a carrot faith that trusts what you are doing in me in the dark and uncertain times of life. Amen.