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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Root Ripping
By Marita Vandertogt


Abigail tugged the small clump of baby green plants out of the plastic container. Dirt fell from their tiny lace-like roots onto the top of the table where Kerry swiped at it with a chubby little hand, brushing it onto to the floor.

“Stick it in grandma,” he grabbed a pot and held it proudly up in the air, directly under the dirt dripping roots.

“Wait a second Kerry.” She smiled down at the little guy, his blonde hair flattened in a sweaty line by a just tossed baseball cap. His face smeared with dirt from a process he’d only just stepped into on the way home from school.

“For what,” big eyes watched Abigail carefully as she took her hand, extra big now with the garden glove neatly tucked around it, and pulled at the fragile lacey roots, ripping them away from the bottom of the plant before tucking them into the fresh earth. The tearing sound continued, like soft material under the hand of an experienced seamstress.

Kerry’s eyes grew bigger. “What are doing that for?”

“I have to,” she said, matter of factly. “If I don’t, well, the plant doesn’t grow as well, if at all.”

“But it’s in the dirt grandma. All it needs is dirt to grow, and a little bit of water.”

“That’s right Kerry,” she patted the little blonde head, bits of the black soil falling into his hair. “But in order for the roots to grow, well, they have to be loosened, and that means pulling them away from themselves I guess.”

“Don’t make sense to me grandma,” Kerry grabbed his baseball cap, and headed toward the door. Dirt’s dirt, and water’s water, and roots are roots. With that, the young boy headed toward home, walking down the sidewalk kicking at stones in his way.

The next time Kerry saw the plants, they were full and green, with thick pink blossoms bending over the sides of the pots.

“Hey grandma,” he said, slamming the screen door behind him. “These look good. Guess ripping the roots works, huh?”

Abigail smiled and nodded.


Ripping the roots is a gardeners’ tool that God may use to get a fuller, richer bloom out of us as well. Each challenging situation we find ourselves in becomes a new pot, and in order to get maximum growth, God may have to tear away at the familiar, even the familiar with Him, in order to transplant us into a fuller, richer experience with Him.
Instead of growing back in toward who we already are, the challenge is to allow the Gardner to do His work.

While root ripping at the time may be painful, or a tad uncomfortable at best, its’ purpose is clear. Everything we do, and everything we face, is there to draw us closer to Him, and to ultimately bring the blessing that always follows.

I pray that if I ever find myself in a situation of root ripping, that I will allow the Gardener to do His work, and then patiently wait for the blessing.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all...” 2 Cor. 4:17 (NIV)

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This article has been read 667 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 03/06/08
Excellent lesson, both for plants and for people. Good work.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/07/08
Your illustration makes an effective devotional. Good descriptions and interactions.
Catrina Bradley 03/09/08
Love this devotional. The story part is especially well written. God has taught me lots of little lessons through gardening, and this is a great one to add to my wisdom collection! Very nice. )
Karen Wilber03/10/08
Great devotional. I wish I'd read this before Sunday...it went perfectly with our Lenten lesson on John 15 "I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener"

I enjoyed this. Thanks for the blessing.
Patty Wysong03/10/08
What a good lesson for us! I love all the things God teaches us through gardening, and this is a great devotional.
Lynda Lee Schab 03/12/08
Nice allegory and great writing. Perfect illustration of the phrase for this week. :-)
Seema Bagai 03/12/08
Clear descriptions in this piece. There are some capitalization and punctuation errors. Fix those, and this will be a solid devotional.
Sara Harricharan 03/12/08
Heehee, this is a good lesson here and I liked the illustration between the boy and the gardener. My only note is was quotation marks missing when he's saying "Dirt's dirt, water's water...etc"? Otherwise, this is a great devotional piece. ^_^
Jan Ackerson 03/12/08
Very good object lesson! I wasn't expecting the little devo at the end, but it worked very well here.

I noticed some errors in punctuation and capitalization that you may want to edit.

I'm a non-gardener, but I really liked this!
Peter Stone03/13/08
Great job at using an everyday experience to illustrate one of the principles of the Kingdom of God. I would love to have seen some examples of roots that God needs to rip to make us grow in your conclusion, eg, a particular dark time in someones life that results in them growing like the plant.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/13/08
We don't enjoy root ripping, but you showed escellently the necessity with your devotional entry.