Several years ago we inherited two potted Japanese Maples from my parents. From time to time we would roll them around our property, testing out new locations in hopes of finding a spot with the right mix of shade and sunlight. They stayed alive but never seemed to really thrive. Last spring, I finally put those trees in the ground. They have grown beautifully. They are more healthy than ever before.
I have found myself surprised by how they've flourished and realized the extent to which being potted had limited their growth. Life in the pot meant limited nutrients and limited development and limited potential. They were not connected to a life source.
I've also observed something that was unexpected. As one of these trees grew and flourished, a small shoot of a different kind sprung up right behind it. I've kept an eye on this shoot and it has now become a large, fast growing tree.
Tay and I have been perplexed as to where it came from and what sort of tree it is. The other day I finally realized what had happened. The Japanese Maple trees had been in pots for years, maybe decades. When we lived at our previous house, we kept one of them on our porch. It sat under the shade of a much larger tree. A seed from that tree had fallen and been lying dormant in the potted soil. Years and years later, this seed found soil, germinated and is now growing and thriving.
It makes me think about my life with God. When I've lived with small faith and believed in a small God, I've been more limited and have found that I'm more dramatically affected by the circumstances and elements around me. But the times that I've believed God is really who He says He is, I break out of those small confining spaces and soak up His truth, life, and the Holy Spirit's living water - all of which nourish the deepest places inside me.
I love the beautiful metaphor found with the unexpected tree hiding out in the potted plant. It is an amazing picture of the dormant things God will awaken in us when we transplant our whole lives in Him. In God it is possible that something altogether new - something unlike us or our natural abilities - can spring forth. When, in faith we step outside the predictable, potted confines of our world and surrender, He will be faithful to grow our roots deep in Him and spread our branches wide. He is longing to be our source. He is longing to use us to make His name famous on the earth.
What parts of your life are a potted tree? Where have you limited God? Are you tired of being in the same spot without growth? God is bigger than you could ever imagine. If you're thirsty, come get a drink. I promise you will not be disappointed.
"For they are transplanted to the Lord's own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, "The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!" Psalm 92:13-15