These were the seeds of high hopes.
As we held them, warming them in our hands, I told the children: "One day these plants will be taller than we are."
We watered, waited, watched. Days lengthened; the season changed from spring to summer. Tiny green shoots appeared and steadily worked their way toward the sky.
Eventually, the kids didn’t ask every morning if the sunflowers had bloomed yet. Morning glory vines climbed their rigid stalks, and we almost forgot they existed at all.
One afternoon, we noticed a neighbor’s sunflowers blooming, and we remembered. We had sunflowers, too. Running around to the backyard, we saw that ours were still there, still growing, not quite blooming but surely on their way.
Today’s Gospel in Luke 13:18-21 reminds me of those sunflowers. I tend to focus on how a little faith is enough, on how God magnifies what we offer.
This is true.
Sometimes, though, I overlook the other element involved in the process: time.
The mustard seed doesn’t become the tallest tree overnight. We don’t put our sunflower seeds into the garden and expect sky-high blooms the next morning.
There is a sense of urgency for us as Christians right now. More than ever, we have work to do to build the Kingdom of God: protecting those in danger, standing up for the oppressed, serving the marginalized, using our voices on behalf of the voiceless. We are called to be the hands of Christ right now, when the world cries out for His touch. And it can be hard when we feel like our little efforts make no difference.
I can get so impatient waiting, praying for the Kingdom to come, wondering why God doesn’t do something.
But God is doing something. God is working through our work, no matter how small it feels right now.
What do we do in the meantime? We pray. We watch. We water what we’ve planted. We tend the shoots that emerge. We wait. We keep working. We do not give up.
We can trust that it will come.