Good News: It Doesn’t All Depend On Us

God makes things grow. 1 Corinthians 3:7

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I spread the cards out like a dealer at a Las Vegas casino. “Pick a card, any card,” I say to Mark. He raises his eyebrows and reaches out to take one. Fortunately these cards aren’t actually a gamble; there’s no ace of spades or queen of diamonds.

Instead Mark is holding a simple white notecard with messy handwriting in black ink on one side. I’ve been writing down a name of God every morning along with a Scripture to go with it. Mark has chosen, “Grower: So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:7).

He smiles and says, “Of all the cards I could have picked….” He doesn’t even need to finish the sentence. In the shorthand that couples who have been married for awhile speak, I know what he’s saying. We especially need God to be this to us now. We’re in the midst of a growing season—new business opportunities for Mark, launching a book for me, welcoming a grand baby for both of us.

It’s so easy in seasons like this one to start believing it all depends on us. Perhaps you’ve experienced this too. You look at your children and think, “I have to make sure they grow up to follow God.” You look at your work and whisper, “I have to make sure it grows into a success.” You look at the dream waiting like an egg in the nest of your heart and tell yourself, “I have to make sure it grows wings.”

But the reality is we can’t make anything grow. This sounds so contrary to our hustle and strive, stress out and make-it-happen culture. Yet it’s a reality that can bring back our peace, slow down our breathing, return the joy to our relationships.

Yet just because we can’t make things grow doesn’t mean we’re supposed to hang out on the couch all day. Wise Solomon said, “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” (Eccl. 11:6).

In other words, our role is daily obedience and God’s role is results.

We spend intentional time nurturing the hearts of our children even though we can’t force them to choose faith.

We do our work well and with excellence even though the outcome of the project is uncertain.

We take the next step in our dream even when it feels hard and risky.

We can be faithful workers, loving parents and diligent dreamers. Like farmers who plant and water, we do what’s within our realm of responsibility. But in the end, we leave it all in God’s hands.

This makes a difference because we don’t have to carry the weight of what ultimately happens. We also don’t claim it as our identity. The “failure” isn’t proof that we’re inadequate and the praise isn’t proof that we’re to be worshipped. Both are too much for us to carry. Instead we can release all the criticism and praise to God and simply do the next thing He asks. Whew.

And here’s the promise we can cling to: “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). There will be growth. It may not look like what we planned but it will come in its season.

Mark and I bow our head and pray. It’s time to start another day.

God, it’s so easy to live as if everything depends on us. Thank You that instead we can fully depend on You. Help us to live in obedience today and leave the rest to You. You are the Grower. You are the Life-giver. You are the Difference-Maker. You are working mysteriously and mightily in our lives today. Amen.


Holley Gerth

– If you liked this post then you’ll love You’re Made for a God-sized Dream or Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dream {devotional}.


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About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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