It wasn’t the prescription I expected. Not from this widely respected gardening guru – this woman who hosted a two-hour radio call-in show every Saturday morning with solutions to dozens of gardening problems.
I anticipated a suggestion to increase the nitrogen and potassium. Maybe a recommendation of compost tea. One of those solutions would surely be what was needed to rejuvenate planted containers and hanging baskets.
Not Jungle Juice.
How could a fruity convenience store beverage be the solution for lifeless hanging baskets?
I can’t recall a thing she said after that recommendation. One part of me wanted to reject the Jungle Juice suggestion as ridiculous. The other part couldn’t stop trying to remember where I had seen the drink on store shelves.
As ludicrous as it sounded, I knew I had to try it.
I’ve never known her to give bad advice, and this Jungle Juice treatment was no exception. It was the best thing that had ever happened to my hanging baskets. I loaded up on it, and I doused every one of my baskets, pots and window boxes. The transformation was almost immediate. By the next day my containers were lush and vibrant.
My plants had new life, all because of a timely application of a good dose of Jungle Juice.
Imagine, if you will, watching a similar transformation in someone’s life.
Think of someone whose soul is in need of restoration. Someone who needs hope and encouragement.
You can be their Jungle Juice.
We have that capacity. It’s in our words. We have the ability to speak life.
Kind words are like honey. They are sweet to the spirit and bring healing to the body. (Proverbs 16:24, NIRV)
On the other hand, we have the capacity to hurt and destroy with our words.
Their words cut like swords, their cruel remarks sting like sharp arrows. (Psalm 6:3, CEV)
We wouldn’t dream of drenching plants with a deadly chemical. But we often spew words with the same capacity for fatal results on someone’s soul.
A dousing of chemical has devastating results, no matter how quickly we try to undo the damage. We may rinse the plants immediately. We might act fast enough to limit the damage, but there will be damage. There will be destruction at some level. That chemical penetrates instantaneously.
So do our words.
Cruel words pierce with deep pain, like a poison-tipped arrow embedded in the heart. Even an immediate apology can’t undo the damage. It might remove the arrow, but the poison remains in the system. Like the deadly chemical spreading through the plant on contact, the debilitating effect of our hurtful words spreads further and deeper with each heartbeat.
Sweet words of encouragement flow through our systems, too. But, their effect is quite different. TobyMac describes it beautifully in his lyrics.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted,
watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
you speak love, you speak life…
Words of encouragement, kindness, support… those have an immediate effect. We can watch the transformation before our very eyes. Who would want to miss an opportunity to spread that kind of healing? We have the capacity to leave a wave of renewed lives in our wake. With nothing more than the timely application of a spoken word, we have the power to be life-changers.
Let’s start pouring it out.
Let’s be someone’s Jungle Juice.