Where You're Planted Matters

Driving through the Hill Country surrounding Austin provides an interesting botanical experience. There are beautiful meadows (or at least medians and shoulders of the road), filled with bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and other gorgeous wildflowers. There are rocky scrublands, where low bushes and prickly pear cacti live. There are hills covered with lush trees and grasses.

Sometimes, we look around at our lives, and the circumstances that surround us are overwhelming. We wonder why the Lord would allow us to be planted in this environment – Why is this soil so rocky? Why am I surrounded by the fumes of others’ emotions and problems? Why am I set on a hilltop while others are cast into the scrublands?

Look again at the flourishing of nature. The wildflowers bring color and joy to passersby, who are stuck in traffic and longing to get home to their families. The prickly pears make gorgeous yellow flowers, followed by deep purple fruit that makes delightful jellies and syrups. The trees on the hilltops hold the soil in place and prevent landslides and rockfalls from destroying the land downhill. Each of these plants flourishes in its season, whatever the surroundings. Why? It’s because the Lord designed each to be suitable for the place where He planted them.
One of the most frequently repeated phrases in the Bible is “do not worry,” or “do not be afraid.”

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matt 6:28-30, NKJV

Yet we so often look at our circumstances and cry out to God, “Why have you placed me here?” Paul provides advice that can change our whole perspective.

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Phil 4:11-13, NLT

2 Peter 1:3 says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.”

May we focus less on the circumstances in which we are planted than we do on the One who has planted us and given us all that we need. May we flourish and bear much fruit, just as the prickly pear does in the scrublands of the Hill Country.
-Sarah Jo Smith, Austin TX, 27 August 2019
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