Do you have marigolds in your garden? After the marigolds come into full bloom, anyone can see them. But between planting and sprouting, the gardener simply has to trust that the seeds are still where they were planted. “Yes, I do have marigolds in my garden,” the gardener will say, even though there is no visual evidence and no one would know without being told by the gardener. When the plants first begin to sprout, it’s very difficult to discern what type of plant it is. The gardener knows what kind of seeds were planted. The people who have been told by the gardener know what to expect. Perhaps a few very astute and educated observers would be able to see that the tiny shoots are marigolds. As the first few shoots grow, the type of plant becomes more evident. So between planting and sprouting, the gardener and those who have been told simply believe that the seeds are there and will sprout.
This belief affects behavior. If you have planted marigold seeds in your garden, you don’t walk on the dirt even if you can’t see the flowers at the moment.
The scriptures paint a similar picture of those who have faith — it affects their behavior. James 2:18 – “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
We can compare history to a garden. We live in a time of God having planted his promises in the history of the world. Just as a garden begins to put out a few sprouts in the beginning, we see in Jesus Christ the first sprouts of God’s ultimate plan to heal the world. The prophets proclaimed that one day the blind will see, the lame will walk, the deaf will hear and the dead will rise. These happened when Jesus walked the earth. We recognize these as the first sprouts of God’s plan to restore creation because the gardener, our loving God, has told us in the Bible.
Most of history — most of the present — looks more like a dirt patch than a garden filled with flowers of peace, forgiveness, redemption and joyful life. But that is what people of faith know will be coming because we trust the gardener. And just as planting seeds affects the gardener’s behavior (the gardener does not walk on planted flower beds!), so knowledge of the coming redemption of ourselves and the world affects our behavior.
So, metaphorically speaking, do you have marigolds in your garden? Act like it!