I don’t quite understand the current succulent craze. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, perhaps it’s only a Southern Texas trend, yet all over, succulents are spreading. They’re in house. In magazines. In photos. On wrapping paper. In weddings.
Now perhaps this fad is a small act of defiance against this harsh climate we live in. Yes, we’ll live with the cacti, but we’re going to live with the small ones. Or perhaps it’s because succulents are small, and thus we project onto them that they’re cute. Regardless of the reason, I still don’t fully understand why people love succulents.
But one succulent helped me to more fully understand love.
It was Changeover Saturday at the summer camp, and we were all busy changing sheets and vacuuming floors and finding all the odd sundry and sorts students had left behind. Socks. Phone chargers. Engagement rings. There was always a new discovery or story to tell. But beneath one bed, in a pile of crumbled rocks and dirt, upside-down and crumpled up, my friend found a succulent.
She dug it out from the darkness beneath the bed, and brought it to our camp supervisor.
“Oh, let me go look, I think I have what it needs!” our supervisor exclaimed, and then promptly returned with a pot and a bag of gravel. (Why she had a bag of gravel in her room is still a mystery to us. She truly was prepared for anything.)
And so my friend righted the plant and potted it, giving it water and straightening its stems. She placed the little succulent in her room, in the bright light of day, and cherished it for the remainder of the summer.
Now, succulents aren’t really anything special. They’re little, and don’t do much. They’re kind of squishy. They still have spikes. And this particular succulent had even less redeeming qualities, and had been left for trash. But my friend still loved it.
And in a way, that’s exactly what God does too. Because we’re not really anything special. A featherless biped, running around squabbling and warring on this ball of dirt. We’re muddy little traitors, who ran away to live in the trash. But God still loves us.
And maybe you feel this personally today. You’re alone in the darkness, left behind as garbage. Small, useless, and driving everyone away with your spikes. And you think you’ll stay that way forever.
But that’s not how God sees you.
He bent down and dug us out of the darkness of sin. He brought us to Himself, saying, “I have what you need” — His grace, His mercy, His life, Himself. In the most surprising of ways, He righted the world; not through a conquering king, but by a cross.
So with His own blood He righted us, giving us living water and straightening out our tangled ways. He placed us into His family, in the brightness of His love and light. He’s called us, adopted us, made us His own, and cherishes us forever.
Perhaps I might not ever understand the succulent craze. I know I won’t ever fully understand God’s love. Yet He calls us to go deeper, “further up and further in” and to dance more fully in this love. He’s teaching me more and more about Himself every day.
And sometimes He uses little succulents to do it.