When We’re Transplanted
Camellias are blooming in Florida. Based on my limited knowledge, these shrubs can be transplanted with very careful work. With time, skill, and attention, these beautiful plants can multiply in new gardens. The plant must take root, and the gardener adjusts his plan to the new conditions in the soil.
One of the ways God renews us is when we’re transplanted. Moving to a new home, work, or school gives you an opportunity to make a new start—if you take the time to break the habits of the past and see a vision of God’s work in that place. When these changes come, we want everything to take quickly. We want to root, flourish, and blossom in about as much time as it took for us to change addresses.
Life and God’s plan don’t work that way. As one writer has remarked, when we’re in God’s will, our path often has many peaks, valleys, detours, and crooked lines. The path to God’s presence to Nippur was no exception. In Ezekiel 18, the prophet faced a relocation of job, home, and career. Things would take time in Nippur to root and grow. In order for life to flourish, he had to change; and God also adjusted his plan in Ezekiel’s life to fit his new location. God literally moved from Jerusalem to Nippur to show Ezekiel that God was there as well. God gave the people time to see his presence and to breathe in the new life he offered.
Ezekiel saw God’s work as a sovereign gardener. God transplanted people by showing them his plan and adjusting to their new realities. The people changed their lives to obey his commands. Jesus fulfilled everything Ezekiel experienced. In John 15, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” What Ezekiel said in a parable was made reality in Jesus’ life. God works and adjusts to our circumstances to involve us in his plan through his son, Jesus. We allow God to trim, prune, correct, and make us into the kind of people he wants us to be. When he does, he cultivates a new life in the garden that he’s growing right where you are.
Do you believe God is big enough to adjust his plan when we fail? Are we faithful enough to believe in God when he extends his mercy to us? Ezekiel and the people of Nippur took that step of faith. Will we? Stop and smell the camellias.