In a city room stood a bowl holding three narcissus bulbs, propped by pebbles in their little green lake. Within a day or two the bulbs began to send up slender green shoots, and the owner rejoiced in this quick growth until a visitor gave her the counsel of experience. "If you want to get flowers, you must not let your bulbs sprout until they have made their roots," she said. "Put the bowl away in a dark place till the roots grow strong enough to give stability to the whole plant; then place them in the sunshine."
In accordance with this advice the bulbs were set away in a cupboard and for ten days saw the light only when the water was renewed. Then they were brought back to the living-room. The pale shoots showed no progress, but from the lower part of the bulbs there had grown a thick network of roots which, twining about the supporting pebbles, drew moisture from the water and held the bulbs firm and upright for their further growth. Day after day the slight yellow shoots turned green, swelled to sturdy size, shot up inch by inch, until finally flowers appeared.
The flowers were before the owner's eyes as she read in her daily study of the Lesson-Sermon this selection from Ephesians: "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, ... might be filled with all the fulness of God." Here the reader paused to ponder the analogy between plants and human experience. Though some bulbs grown out of doors shoot naturally up into the sunshine, these had had to endure days of darkness before they were rooted and grounded and able to express the beauty which is the rightful condition of all God's ideas. They had waited patiently, and in the dark had grown their strong, firm roots.