Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t tell you the difference between an annual and a perennial. I kinda went through life guessing the difference. Although the word “annual” in and of itself seems limited, I still thought maybe an annual meant it continued growing over time, but would only just bloom once a year. And don’t even go there with my perennial thoughts! (insert grace here—I’m not the sharpest tool)
Then gardening stepped into my life.
I’ve learned a lot! I definitely know the difference now. And if there are any other kinfolk of definition inadequacy out there, let me set it straight—annuals grow for one season then die off, perennials last multiple seasons.
Most fruit and vegetable plants are annuals; they germinate, they grow, they produce, they finish. Time to plant more.
I planted strawberries last spring—bare roots to be exact. They grew up good. The package said they were perennials, but I didn’t quite believe that strawberries lasted that long. Strawberries are a summer fruit, right? The big strawberry fields tend to close up shop after summer, and the fields go bare. I expected mine to do the same. And then they did. You see…,I was right.
Until I was wrong.
My strawberry plants, the few that survived, are still going strong. In fact, I am getting the largest berries yet in this cold and wintery season. Who knew? Obviously, not me!
It was my fault that I lost a whole bed of strawberry plants. I assumed they were going to shrivel up and go away, so I didn’t tend to them like I should’ve. When I started seeing the small signs of wilting and browning, I went with my assumption of the lot. And we all know that word assumption, don’t we?
I think we do that in our lives, too. With our walk of faith. With our “expectations” in God. Our prayers. Our hopes for others. Our struggles of our own.
When things don't seem to change, when answers don't come, or even when prayers seem empty, we assume it is all a useless cause; hope runs its course like all the other things that go away. We view that hope as a fleeting annual.
But God operates in the perennial!
He is not a one-and-done God. Never has been, never will be! He always plants for the long-haul. When we see a lost cause, God sees a greater cause.
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord."
Friends, don’t give up on what you’re praying for. Whatever it is—a changed situation, a hope for a prodigal, a heart of a spouse, a diagnosis, a rocky time of life—don’t toss away the good-to-come, because of the bad you’re in. The end is not yours to assume. Don’t expect annuals to be where perennials want to prosper.
There is always a way with God—always!! When we think there isn’t, we’re wrong. We may think we’re right, but we are so wrong.
The Oxford definition of perennial is:
“lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time; enduring or continually recurring.”
-Tend to what needs tending.
-Take care of what can be cared for.
…Let God do the rest!
Thank you Lord for all our blessings, seen and unseen. Fix our minds on Your will, not ours. Trade our assumptions for presumptions of everything good from You.