I do most of my online work at night when the kids are in bed. But sometimes I just get too brain dead that writing just seems impossible. The other night was one of those nights. So I looked on amazon prime to see if there were any good movies. I looked under the animal planet type movies (because really they just fascinate me) and see one about plants. At first I'm thinking, "Wow, that's gotta be boring." But then I remember how many times I've been humbled by learning things I thought I knew so much about but turns out I didn't. So I start watching a show about plants. Don't judge. ;)
Once again I was humbled and got to hear from God in His still small voice. By means of the tobacco plant no less. (Hey, He can use a donkey, surely He can use a tobacco plant.)
So here's what I learned. The wild tobacco plant seed needs wildfire to germinate and grow. (Much like the great Sequoia trees I wrote about not too long ago, Trees and the Suffering and Beauty of God.) Once they germinate they grow and have to be ready for anything because every part of them is attacked by a specialist that feeds on that particular part of the plant.
But the wild tobacco is ready. It has a secret chemical weapon. When a herbivore attacks, it ramps up a toxin, nicotine. The nicotine poisons anything that has a muscle. So, now it's survived and not being eaten by bugs anymore. However here comes Mr. Caterpillar who has no muscles. This secret chemical weapon doesn't work on him. Now he's being eaten alive and chances are if nothing happens the entire plant will be devoured in a couple days by Mr. chubby Caterpillar.
But as we know there are wild tobacco plants. They haven't all been eaten alive. Are you curious why? Well, because it has yet another secret weapon. When Mr. Caterpillar's saliva gets on the leaves the plants releases an odor which is picked up by the very bugs that eat caterpillars. Basically the plant sends out secret SOS smells and calls in reinforcements. Within hours Mr. Big Eyed Bug comes along and gobbles up Mr. Caterpillar.
And if that weren't enough, the plant also makes little lollipop looking things called a tricomb. The caterpillar eats these yummy little treats and 20 minutes later the secret weapon kicks in and Mr. Caterpillar himself now emits a very appetizing smell to Mr. Bug.
Pretty amazing right. But there's even more secret weapons!
Here comes Mrs. Hawk Moth gathering nectar from the flower of the plant. But moths also lay up to 200 eggs which grow into tobacco eating caterpillars. So if little tobacco plant happens to get too many little Hawk Moth eggs on it, it changes the shape of it's flower from short and open to tall and narrow. Now Mrs. Hawk Moth can't get the pollen and along comes Mrs. Hummingbird whose beak fits perfectly inside the long flower.
This little wildflower of the field has at least three defense mechanisms tailor fit for it's different predators.
So I hope you're wondering how in the world this relates to us. Because now we are getting to the good part!
Before the fall these little plants didn't need any of these amazing mechanisms. There was no blood shed and animals didn't eat each other. But here we have a plant without a brain that has defense mechanisms. So why would God gives this little flower so many defense mechanisms if it had no need to defend itself?
The fall didn't surprise or catch God off guard. And it wasn't His plan B. God knew what would happen and provided for Mr. Wild Tobacco Flower long before he ever even existed. Perhaps the tobacco plant could have wondered why it needed an odor releasing mechanism. Perhaps it felt stifled with a part of it going unused (though we know for a season).
The flowers of the field show us that God knows, He really really knows. And not only does He know what is needed long before we ever saw the need, He provides. Just like long before the wild tobacco plant needed to have a way to ward off enemies He provided, long long ago He knew what you needed and set out to provide for you, to act on your behalf. And abundantly.
Sin and brokenness hasn't hindered His plan for your life. After all, no plan of His can be thwarted as Job tells us.
He cares enough to help a plant fight against a caterpillar, sure He cares much more for you, a valuable being created in His image.
"Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don't labor or spin thread (They don't even have a brain, let alone ability to provide for themselves). Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! (Could you imagine Solomon's soldiers having releasing odors chemical weapons). If that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won't He do much more for you-you of little faith? So don't worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." Matthew 6:28-33 (italics mine)
The wildflowers of the field show us God is a much better provider than we ever give Him credit for.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 12 years serving with Master Plan Ministries. Laura is the Women's Development Coordinator and has discipled over 150 girls, led over 30 Bible studies and speaks to college and women's groups. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
If you'd like to read more from this contributor, type her name in the search box on the top right.