Today’s Truth

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NLT)

Friend to Friend

I will never make it as a gardener. I simply don’t have the motivation to endure the back-breaking, never-ending work of weeding nor the mindset to trust the process. From the very beginning, I can’t help but sow too many seeds into pods too small for roots to grow deep and strong. As those seedlings burst forth, I stand in awe like a proud momma but dread the inevitable next step . . . thinning out the weak ones.

I can’t stand being the one who chooses which ones have to go.

It’s not surprising, as I’ve been a softy for the underdog forever. Whether it is a seedling, a teen girl struggling to find her way, or a character in a movie who never seems to catch a break, I always see the potential and will keep showing up hoping the next step is the best step for growth.

Yet when it comes to gardening, the best outcome for the harvest lies in the willingness of the gardener to remove the weakest plants for the sake of the stronger ones. Mercy, I hate that responsibility so much so that I shoved the scissors into my husband’s hand urging him to do the deed. I know, pathetic! There I stood hovering as he made the choice I could not make. He was bold and decisive, even with my commentary, handing me each sacrificed seedling one-by-one. With my hands full, I realized afresh the sacredness of the greatest sacrifice of all time.

Instead of allowing all of humanity to die in their weakness and sin, God chose the strongest of all to take our place.

God didn’t thin out the weak ones. He did the exact opposite. He took the strongest one to accomplish once and for all what the weak ones could never do on their own.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NLT).

It is safe to say that God is for the underdog. He sees us as we are, in our weakness and sin, yet envisions exactly what we can become. Isn’t that remarkable? But that is not all. Jesus, who is both fully God and fully man, had every right to refuse the call of the cross.

Yet He willingly submitted to the Master Gardner’s sheers, dying a death He did not deserve so that we could live a life we did not earn.

As a result, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes alive within us, enabling us to become strong as we are filled by the power of God’s sacrificial love. No one is left out. No one is thinned out. We all have the privilege of growing strong and able because of God’s love for us.

I guess you can say my hesitation to thin the seedlings isn’t a bad thing after all. Seeing their potential is indeed reflective of the Father’s heart. And yet, my husband’s ability to grab the shears and do the deed also reveals the character of the Father who made the most difficult decision of all – to sacrifice His Son for the sake of all His children.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for dying a death we could not endure to give us a life we did not earn. Father, thank You for a plan that provides a way out of our sin and into a life of Spirit-infused strength. May we live this life in humble gratitude and bold faith, trusting You to accomplish Your work in us and through us.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

How does the underdog principle impact your life in light of what God has done in sacrifice Jesus for your sake? With that sacrifice in mind, how might you live differently, especially in the way you view others?

More from the Girlfriends

Want to learn how to let go and live in a way that aligns with God’s best? Take the Align Quiz available through More to Be to discover your best next step in growing your faith and walking in God’s purposes.

© 2021 by Elisa Pulliam. All rights reserved.

6 Responses to “For the Weak and the Strong”

  1. Bernadette says:

    Thank you for these reminders. While I was a sinner, Christ died for me. Romans 5:8 gives me so much hope.

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you, Elisa for this powerful post this am.
    My take is that our Heavenly Father, loved His creation (us) so much, He couldn’t and wouldn’t let us destroy ourselves without a sacred lifeline!
    In my prayer and meditation time, I’ve pictured Jesus stepping forward in the Temple of Heaven, and saying, “Father, send me….I will go…” This picture fills me with emotion, enough to remind me I need to step up in my own faith. Who else that I know loves me enough to sacrifice themselves for me?
    Thank you for this powerful message.
    Blessings to you in your continuing ministry.

  3. Cerise Cherry says:

    Such a good word. Your POV is so relatable I do the same. I had a friend who raised roses. She hated dead heading them so twice a year she went to teach a music camp I would do the dirty deed! She thought I was such a great gardener, but the truth was I did it only for her. Couldn’t raise roses myself.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Amen, Bernadette! Christ, indeed, died for us!

  5. Carol, thanks for taking the time to share. What a beautiful picture of Jesus!

  6. Elisa says:

    Cerise, I know about roses too! Just shared about that with my community as God’s pruning lessons continue to unfold this season. Love the beautiful picture of you serving your friend that way. Thanks for sharing!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8