Oh Beautiful Dahlia

Dahlia tubers
White pom pom dahlia bloom with purple centre, isolated on a black background
In a random photo search, I stumbled on the first picture and asked, “What is this?” Ok, so I’ve exposed myself as a non-gardener—I can live with that. For the others with clean hands, I enlighten you—these are dahlia tubers.

My next question comes from the second picture, “How can something so exquisite come from something so unsightly?”

I went to the Farmer’s Almanac online to read up on the planting and care of dahlias. “Don’t plant in cold soil, needs full sun, don’t water the tubers till they sprout, blooms appear about eight weeks after planting, thrives best in cool, moist climates.”

Spiritual insights from nature abound.

On the 3rd day of creation God announced seed-bearing plants and trees of various kinds. Yet in God’s wisdom, plants don’t appear suddenly, but require time and cultivation.

These two photos reveal the metamorphosis that God designed. The first photo is the seed, the second is the ultimate result. Something wondrous and beautiful takes place in the dark seclusion of damp earth, over a period of time.

With this hint from horticulture, we wonder, “Would God have an intricate plan for flowers, but not for people?”

Jesus referred to his Father as the Gardener, and his disciples as the plants. Each one of us comes to Christ like a pile of ugly tubers, marred by sin. By God’s grace, and through our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into our life as the transforming agent. God’s handiwork waits to be revealed, in time, as the soil of His Word and His Spirit transforms us.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

Oh how we wish for instant alteration, but that’s rarely how God works. Even the Apostle Paul didn’t blossom overnight, but went into seclusion after his road-to-Damascus conversion, not returning to Jerusalem for three years (Galatians 1:15-18).

Dahlias require the right soil, sun, water and climate. Likewise, God’s instructions for our growth include these essentials:
• A mind saturated in God’s Word
• A heart yielded to God’s Spirit
• Intentional interaction with God’s people

These three elements provide a greenhouse effect that will in time transform the ugly in our lives into something remarkable.

I’d love to hear your stories of transformation.

4 comments to Oh Beautiful Dahlia

  • Lynette Nobles

    As an avid gardener I also enjoy the grafted-in analogy used to tell us how we become members of God’s family. Of course, I don’t especially enjoy the pruning analogy, but that is also vital for plants to flourish. Jesus taught to their way of understanding – farming in the dirt! Early in the spring I hacked off the majority of our muscadine grape vines and felt horrible about it. But, now that summer is working its’ magic. I can see hundreds of grapes that will (hopefully) be ripe in September. Patience and consistency in the garden is required for average results. Deliberance and purpose will yield excellent results. I want excellence, but I must be willing to do my part.

  • Richie

    This is a great analogy for me. I am impatient wanting results right away. I am reminded that the magical transforming thing happens in the dark and quiet over time. In fact, in this example, the underground part takes way longer than the bloom actually lasts. I want to be transformed even if it takes a long long time!

  • Chérie

    What an extraordinary visual illustration of WHY Jesus used dirt, weeds, roots, seeds, harvest for teaching. 

    Imagine the illustrations that would need to be used today in our culture….
    “When you drive in your nice temperature regulated car to the mall and see a person begging for food….”, or, “Watch out for the yeast of the Internet…” 

    The ugly tubers remind me of the pride I unknowingly had as a Christian who went to church, didn’t do all the “don’t do’s”, and knew the Bible well. Knew all the songs and the “Christianese” language to go with it and was a formidible opponent in a Sword Drill.
    As I mentioned a long time ago, not too many can say the list of the minor prophets faster than ‘yours truly’. 

    But then!

    Six years ago, I “accidentally” (ya, um…WHO’s in charge…) discovered something else I could do and it was memorizing.

    Talk about ugly tubers.
    Holy stinking cow. 

    I don’t know any other way to look at it. The Word of God being engrafted into my mind— etched into my memory, has been an ongoing explosion of insight into why I really need this Savior I have believed in since I was a small child.
    Janet, I’m with you. Dirt under my fingernails isn’t my idea of a hobby; I’ll take knitting needles and a decent ball of yarn INSIDE THE HOUSE (ya, I’m pathetic that way), but it’s a fantastic insight into why Jesus constantly used this language in His teaching. 
    I loved this post, and I love that you were willing to research a subject that doesn’t normally float your boat, and allow God to give you the insight to share with us. 
    I am reminded that you do this as a ministry only. You sacrifice your time and effort to serve a small portion of the Body and you don’t get a dime. Thank you Janet. Thank you for serving us mega-memorizers in this way. 
    Starting Haggai tomorrow! Woohoo!

    • Great insights Cherie! And thank you for being so vulnerable about your own growth from tuberdom. As for my role in this community, its such a joy to lead others on this same memorizing journey. Years ago I only knew a few mega-memorizers, now I know hundreds. You all will be my joy and crown. I love you!