Have you ever thought about how resilient yet dependent seeds are? Certain seeds do seem to be able to take root and thrive in some of the worst conditions, but in reality even those seeds still must have just the right amount of soil, the right amount of or lack of sunshine, the right amount of water, and just the right amount of protection from disease, injury or predators in order to become a healthy plant.
We too are dependent, but I think we often don’t realize it.
I was struck by this irony on a recent visit to Miracle Hill’s Overcomers Center, a residential addiction recovery facility for men. Henry (not his real name), one of the guests participating in the program at Overcomers, was alone outside working in the garden. It was an especially hot day, and I considered staying indoors, but I was intrigued by the neat rows of plants growing in the red, chunky South Carolina clay.
I ventured out and asked Henry what types of vegetables and fruits the garden would eventually produce, and he proceeded to tell me about the okra, beans, squash, melon and various other edibles he hoped to eventually harvest. He also told me that the seeds had been planted a little later than they should have been, but amazingly, the tiny, tender green shoots had sprung up throughout the plot.
Then something else caught my eye. I began to notice several rock formations in between some of the rows. One looked like a cross, another like an infinity symbol, another like a statue with a feather stuck in it. Henry explained that he had placed these small stone pictures in the garden because they reminded him of God’s work in his life.
Henry is an accomplished artist (and experienced gardener), but his life, family, career and dreams were derailed by addiction. He has struggled to overcome but says he was “prayed into” the Overcomers program. A couple of persistent women at Triune Mercy Center in Greenville prayed that he would not continue to run from his problems and hurts. That’s how he eventually ended up at the Overcomers Center.
I’m not surprised.
Prayer, after all, is a recognition that we are totally dependent on God for everything. It’s asking God to do what only He can do. That’s really the heart of everything we do at Miracle Hill. Only God can restore broken lives. Prayer is not our last resort. It’s our first priority. God can take what seems impossible and turn it into something living and thriving.
Interestingly, prayer is how the Overcomers Center came to be located where it is today. The current location used to be a monastery filled with Poor Clares, women whose sole purpose is to pray for their community and the world. When the Poor Clares decided to re-locate to Travelers Rest, they prayed that the buildings would continue to be used for ministry. They approached Miracle Hill, and through God’s miraculous provision, Miracle Hill was able to take over and renovate the facility.
The Poor Clares prayed. God answered. The women at Triune Mercy Center prayed. God answered. Henry is praying. God is answering. As we depend on God, our gardens and our lives grow one prayer at a time.