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Beneath the soil

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Last February, COVID thought it was okay to pay a visit. My oldest daughter bought me a cheery pink "get well" hydrangea.

I was grateful for her kindness but, really, Mary doesn't do plants. Felkins' Flower Heaven is filled with quite the collection of attempt-and-fail plants. (You can read all about that in Barely Blue, a previous post I included in my devotional.)

Sure enough, those beautiful puffy hydrangea heads soon turned the shade of sand before they shriveled and drooped.

BUT ... I believed the plant could thrive and prayed God would revive it. Because he'd planted in my heart a desperate need to see growth—a sure sign that he's heard my prayers and was working beneath the soil of people and situations that still appear hopeless.

Yes, Lord, my soul truly needs this.

Guided by a dear friend with plant smarts, I clipped the once-beguiling blossoms, prayed over the stems, and watered them. I gave them a bigger planter, fresh soil ... more water. On frosty nights, I brought them inside, set them back outside when God blanketed spring days in warmth, and within weeks ...


God was—and is—doing quite a miraculous work beneath the soil. He's doing the same in our lives and those we long to see come to spiritual life. How often we neglect to trust the mystery and wonder of the hand of God and stare anxiously at what's visible above the soil—the thing we can point to and photograph. [Exhibit A]

God gives us the faith to have faith in what we can not see. An unshakeable certainty we're not just staring at dirt.

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29 (NIV)

No one wants Jesus to call them out like he did doubting Thomas.

No matter the lack of color you may be seeing in the lives of those you love or in the world, join forces with me and persist in prayer over those people and plants and problems, y'all.

Points to Ponder

1. When have you wanted to give up on what seemed beyond hope?

2. What was God doing in that situation?

3. How did he change your heart as you watered the concern in prayer?

Thanks for reading!

If you were inspired by today's post and know others who would enjoy it, I'd be super grateful if you'd share.


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Katherine Pasour
Katherine Pasour
May 11, 2023

Although my thumb is not as "green" as my husband's, I do fairly well growing flowers. I enjoy hands in the dirt and watching results as God sends the sun and rain to help the plants reach their potential. Your story brought a smile as you shared how you nurtured new growth. Thanks for your message to remind us how our Father loves and cares for us, even above and beyond His creation of lilies and the other beautiful aspects of Creation. Happy Mother's Day, Mary!

Mary A. Felkins
Mary A. Felkins
May 12, 2023
Replying to

I wasn't given the love of nurturing plants and flowers that God gave my Dad and one of my sisters but I'm grateful for this new opportunity to see results—even if motivated in part by guilt that the hydrangea was headed for death lol! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Katherine!


J.D. Wininger
J.D. Wininger
May 11, 2023

What a blessing it was to read your post Ms. Mary. And more, I felt it an answer to prayer, as I've prayed for you daily for the past couple of years ma'am. Not only your writing, but that God would continue to work within you and help you to grow in Him. They sure have been answered ma'am. God's blessings.

Mary A. Felkins
Mary A. Felkins
May 12, 2023
Replying to

Your steadfast prayer for me is evidence that God's eyes never leave his children. I am humbled and grateful for your faithful support, J.D! Until Jesus returns, there's no end to our need for growth!

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