Spring has well and truly sprung! And with it—at least in my suburb—mowers spring to life, residents don their garden gloves in earnest and green bins are full to the brim.
Where I live, in Toowoomba, Queensland, spring is extra special because we are in the throes of celebrating the famous Carnival of Flowers.
There are many sites where you can enjoy the beauty of flowers and gardens, in all their perfectly cultivated glory. The colourful and creative Floral Parade drew thousands as it wove its way through town. Awards and prizes have been given out to recognize the best gardens in town. Our church even came second in the 'Places of Worship' category!
A garden takes plenty of preparation
An amazing amount of preparation goes into each garden. Preparation goes on the whole year round; planting, watering, clearing weeds, pruning, fertilizing and fighting pests. It is miraculous, hopeful work because the result is never one hundred percent guaranteed.
The effort put into growing these gardens reminds me of the Apostle Paul talking about Christian conversion and growth as recorded in 1 Corinthians, chapter 3;
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
Ultimately it is God who grows a garden
While the gardeners of Toowoomba toil away and do their bit, ultimately in this fickle business of growing living organisms, it is God the Creator who is sovereign over the whole process. He is the one who made the sun and sends the rain which is so vital for the ultimate success of these gardens.
Gardens show order brought out of chaos
Toowoomba's gardens are also a beautiful example of bringing order out of chaos. After all, leave a garden with no one to tend to it and it's not just flowers which grow. Weeds will start to creep in. Insects eat their fill.
We know God cares when we look at a garden
A beautiful garden is also a wonderful reminder of the way God cares for his creation, and how much more he cares for us. Every time you look at a flower or plant you can think to yourself, 'Do not worry.' According to Jesus, they are a sign of how much God cares for us:
"Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!"
I'm very much enjoying my first spring in Toowoomba—and I hope there are many more to come, because there is so much beauty to soak up and explore.
Carnival of Flowers is a shining display of skill and care by the gardeners in our city. And while you won't find it written in the tourist brochures, it is an undeniable reflection of the beauty and glory of God the Creator, who gives the growth.
Sarah Urmston lives in Toowoomba with her husband, Stephen. She loves God, her family, writing, colouring in, crochet, and creating lists. Sarah works full-time at home and seeks to faithfully serve Jesus in many different ways using the time she's given.
Sarah Urmston's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sarah-urmston.html