God’s Surprises

An unknown unexpected plant growing in the garden is “God’s surprise” just like people--nobody knows how we’ll turn out.  We have patience, trust in God, and take care of ourselves and others to see what surprise God has in store inside each person.    



God’s love, human diversity, being open to the Holy Spirit 

What to say:

This past spring, I found a sprout in my flower garden. I knew it wasn’t a flower, but it didn’t look like a weed. It had a leaf with three points on it; it was furry and had sharp, tiny spikes along the stem. BUT! It was growing into the sidewalk scrunched into a little spot between a bush, the impatiens, and the bricks that edged the walkway. So I carefully pulled it up with its roots intact and stuck it into a better spot with more space and thought, “let’s see what God has in store….”

WELL! The same plant started to grow again in the SAME place in the flower bed! So I convinced my family to leave it alone and see what happened. We had no idea what to expect.

A month passed, and we were patient. By now, BIG leaves were starting to sprawl beyond the flower border and onto the lawn. My husband really didn’t think this was such a good idea. “The plant is blocking the sidewalk…. It might kill the grass… It’s hard to mow the lawn around it….” I trained the plant to grow along the edge of the sidewalk and pointed out that there was plenty of space between the leaves to allow the sun to shine through and keep the grass alive. So we continued to live with this “unusual” plant that was God’s surprise.

By this time, I was pretty sure the plant was from the squash family. It started to get big yellow flowers. We watered it with all the rest of the flowers that surrounded it, but the plant’s flowers kept falling off. Maybe, I thought, if it’s going to be a squash and not a flower, it needs a different kind of food? So I went to the garden store and bought some special food for vegetables. I brought it home and started to feed the plant some different food.

I began to notice that some of the plant’s flowers had one long stem and some were close to the trunk of plant. I vaguely remembered something from high school biology about boy flowers and girl flowers. The ones growing close to trunk started to grow something else—a little ball, but it kept shriveling up, and the blossoms were still falling off. I gave the plant another “meal” and watered it a bit more, and a few of the “balls” began to grow a bit larger. This week God provided a nice soaking rain (finally) and several of the “balls” are starting to be green and round now, almost as big as tennis balls.

We still aren’t sure what surprise God has in store; someone said it’s beginning to look like a pumpkin. But we are trusting, waiting, and caring for our “God’s surprise.”

I began to think how HUMANS are like my surprise plant. Sometimes our parents plan for us to come into this world; sometimes we’re a surprise; sometimes they plan, and we’re still a surprise. When we’re babies, nobody knows how we’ll turn out. Our caretakers water us, feed us, and train us to do certain things. Some of us like different kinds of food. Some of us do better in the country, some in the city. Some of us prefer to be squished into tiny little crowded spots like my surprise plant.

As we grow, we find out that we like different things, and we may be completely different from what we thought we would be…. The important thing is to have patience, trust in God, and take care of ourselves and others. Sometimes waiting is important, because you never know what surprise God has in store inside you! 

From Dumbarton United Methodist Church Favorite Children’s Stories 1995 – 2006. Edited by Mittie Quinn. 2006. Used by permission. 

Contributed by Mittie Quinn

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