Friday, October 17, 2008

Zippy and Me

Wherefore I desire that you faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...That Christ may dwell in your your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:13-19

I'll take a new picture soon, but for now, let these words suffice: she has been rescued from the flowing Jordan, the angry Red Sea, the river Jabbok, and is now rooted and grounded in good soil. I put her in an honest to God planter, so her roots can truly thrive and not simply sway and swim. She's in Canaan now, in the land of the living. She and I wait, groaning for the new earth, for eternal life.

In deference to her past, the old photo of her in the water will be tough to beat. What does that say about the nature of our pasts? How does our gardener use those seasons of trial and wandering to transform us into the men and women he created us to be?

In the watery interim, (since my last Zippy post) Zippy's roots began to gather an algae-like covering. As I had at first, I ignored her well-being and merely hoped with scant hope her condition would change. Finally, I wished she would die so I would not have to see her suffering- so I would not have to change.

In the plant world, Zippy is a type of Joseph; her distant cousin Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He endured excruciating hardship and trial at the hands of his captors to one day rule and reign in Egypt. That very path eventually led him back to his brothers, the same brothers who betrayed him. Joseph had the good grace to tell them what they, his own flesh and blood meant for ill, God used for his good. Joseph, like Zippy, was transplanted, and reformed into the man God called him to be. The attempted murder his brothers conspired to commit set in motion events that only God could redeem.

In the human world, I am mother Eve, succumbing to the temptation to be like God by ignoring God's injunction to obey; I am the brothers of Joseph scheming and self-absorbed; I am David willing to kill for pleasure; and I am Peter, petulant, argumentative; To my self, think me not too cruel. Who else are my fore bearers? Who are yours? The poor helpless drifting plant relied on me to care for her; my inaction coupled with overt desire to see her demise so I would not have to die to self, amounts to a heap of debt and wrong which I cannot right in myself or in Zippy.

Like Zippy, I need a rescue and a rescuer. Just as God saved Eve by covering her as he cast her from the garden, he saved Judah and his conniving brothers through Joseph's mercy; he saved David from his murderous lusts and created in him a new heart; in kind, he rescued Peter from his impetuousness and built the very Church he came to die for on Peter, the rock.

Zippy's a botanical icon, because the God of heaven quickened in me a call to do right by her. Planting her in soil does not, in itself, amount to righteousness; it, the act of planting, is instead a response to the righteousness of God wrought [ in me ] by and through Jesus the redeemer gardener.
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding with thanksgiving. -Colossians 2:6-7

So it is we are thankful- Zippy and me-for more than we can say. To God be the glory.

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