“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7b
Every spring, I come out to trim the clematis.
Taking a quick, cursory glance and assuming it was completely dead, in years past, I would cut it all down.
Then one year, studying the vines more closely, I realized that what I thought were dead stems actually held new buds.
If I was careful, I could trim off the dead parts and save the new ones, ensuring the plant would have a head start on the season.
This is slow, ginger work, however. The stems are very thin and fragile. They snap easily. Although they may have life in them, they require care. It takes time to sort what’s living from what is not. It is tedious work. But it is well worth it in the end.
We would do well to consider people with the eye of a gentle gardener. On the outside, they may appear frail and full of despair. But if we look upon these souls as the Lord would, we discover all is not lost. We find a glimmer of hope. With care, we can nurture that life and encourage it to grow. Even in unfortunate circumstances.