Last winter on an excursion I came across a palm tree loaded with dried fruit ready for picking. I gathered up 88 little palm seeds and took them home with me to grow.
Spurrred by curiousity more than the love of palm trees I began to soak them to break through the hard shell and begin the germination. Each stage of the germination process facinated me. I watched as a tiny dot of seed covering dropped off the side of the seed one day and the next day a root began to push its way out. I hovered over the seeds like a mother over her new baby.
After a couple of weeks all but one of the 88 seeds had sprouted. I rejoiced for the 87 sprouted seeds but mourned my lose of the one. I continued to watch my lone seed still hoping it would sprout but eventually it became evident it was dead and would never sprout.
The sprouted seeds were planted in the best potting soil I could find. Daily I watched to be sure that the roots did not push out the bottom of the pots and once they began to bulge the bottom of the pot they were placed in a larger pot and the overseeing of the young seeds continued.
Spring came and the roots of the palms were strong enough to begin to push a minature palm leaf upward to mature and begin a productive life. Rejoicing with each new plant I found emerging from the top of the soil, I counted each one that grew and watched for the ones that had not emerged yet a little like God watches over us wanting each of us to grow and become strong. Although some of the plants had not matured enough to produce a leaf I continued to watch after the plants, keeping them watered, placing them in the sun, making sure that the soil has the proper nutrients to grow and be productive. I am reminded of God's love for us. There are so many lessons I can learn from my experience growing these palms but most evident to me is that God watches over us and continues to give us the proper conditions to grow but the growing part is up to us.
No matter what, I can not make the choice for the seed to grow. If the seed is immature it will not grow. If the hard shell on the outside has not gone through something to wear down or soften the outer coating it will not allow the heart of the seed to get the moisture it needs and it will not grow. If the seed grows without the sun it will be spindly and weak and will eventually die.
How much more than I watch over my palms does God watch over us, rejoicing at our maturing and mourning those who are weak. God is the master gardener.