For about 20 hours we have had stormy weather here in Germany, a weather I normally do like. I always loved to be at the seaside, for instance, where I tried to walk or even bike against the stormy wind. Not so today. This spring and summer I planted more than 70 pots on our two balconies and so today I have been watching my beautiful plants partly being destroyed without me being able to do more than trying to fix them with cords, gathering broken branchlets, blossoms and (still) green tomatoes. As I came home from my weekly “big shopping” this afternoon, I saw that the mess had got worse and worse. Whatever I would try to improve the situation for the plants in the following hours, I saw it made no real sense. Eventually, I found myself wearily sitting on my bed where I tried to pray. Very sad, not really mad at God because of the storm, but disappointed…..and feeling completely helpless. Although I tried to reason and comfort myself with saying, “These are only plants…,” I could not get rid of the sadness. Prayer did not help, either.
Suddenly I was reminded of Jonah and the gourd, the plant which provided shade for him against the sun until a worm attacked it so that Jonah suffered in the heat of the sun again. Interesting, I thought, Jonah was angry at God… and I am not, this time at least. It seems to me it is the first time in my life that I am not mad at Him because things did not go the way I wanted. Instead, I felt only sadness and concern for the plants. Furthermore, I suddenly knew that God is God, He can do whatever He wants and sees fit. There is no reason why He should ask us about our opinion, “Do you want me to do this…or rather that?” That would not be our God.
If there is one thing I do know about God, then it is the fact that He cares. Not only for us, no, even for plants and animals. And if something is destroyed, there must be a reason for it only God knows. Jesus told us that we are of more value than the birds of the air (Mt 6:26) and God confirms that He cares about plants, too. He said to Jonah,
“You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10-11 ESV)
Ha! I just realized that my sadness had come from having labored so much in order to make the plants grow. I really love them! Also, it is now clear to me that God loves everything He created. There is NO exception and no human being is excluded!!! Oh, dear brothers and sisters, may we grasp how deep the love of God for ALL of His creation is so that we dare to care for everyone and everything on this earth just as God does. Is that too much to hope for or perhaps too good to be true?