Hope blooms

Nature has risen from its slumber.  Flowers are in bloom, trees burst with pride over their new leaves.  The air is fresh.  Crisp.  That’s what I love about spring – everything is new.  Our family enjoys watching the seasonal birds come to and fro – especially my husband.  He takes very good care of his “woodland friends,” as he calls them, by keeping the bird feeders we have scattered across our yard well-stocked with unique mixtures of seed, thistle, corn, etc.  One feeder, however, has a design flaw.  It cannot keep squirrels away.  Squirrels are a huge part of our naturescape, and they’ve spread the word among the squirrel kingdom about this feeder.

Any time of day, I can look out my window and see them scampering all over this feeder like a superhighway, hoarding the treats inside.  The little thieves.  They run the birds off, fight with each other, and make a mess in the process dropping both shells and whole seeds on the ground in my flowerbed.  Ug.  My dog loves these bushy-tailed critters because they are fun to chase…and anything on our property is fair game to this canine.

One morning, I went outside to check on things.  I noticed a small, bright green bud poking up through the ground near the feeder.  It didn’t look like the perennials I’ve planted before.  It looked like a weed.  Call me lazy, I did nothing about it.  We watched this little bud grow bigger over time, but still couldn’t tell what it was.  I kept telling myself, just pull it up, but I was usually already doing something else and didn’t want to bother with it.

It was a hot afternoon, in the sweltering sun, when this mysterious plant made its debut.  It was indeed, not a weed, rather – a sunflower!  How in the world?  In my flowerbed are black-eyed susans, daisies, and assorted flowers and foliage I planted by hand.  I did not plant any sunflowers.  It’s not the right place for them.  They need lots of space and tons of sun.  This little guy was wedged in between plants and only received partial sun.  Nonetheless, there stood, in my flowerbed, a sunflower – perfect in every way.  I laughed to myself when I realized what happened.  At some point, a whole sunflower kernel had been knocked off the bird feeder (by a menacing squirrel, no doubt), and it germinated and produced a spectacular specimen.  Wow.

I was amazed because I did nothing to it.  I didn’t water it, nurture it, or help it in any way, because I figured whatever was growing was simply a weed.  How wrong I was.  What was presumed a worthless wonder was a wonderful treasure.  A plan had taken root within the small, black seed and unveiled a resplendent result.

Life can be like that at times.  Messy.  Upheavaled.  Unplanned.  What we see as weeds, God sees as hidden potential.  The old expression, bloom where you’re planted, is a fine message.  But, I don’t know if it’s only the bloom that should receive an applause.  Like the sunflower seed that fell off of our bird feeder, our lives have more fight in them than we may think when God’s hand is upon them.  We weather the storms, survive the droughts, and struggle to find our place in the world.  Why?  Hope.  This little word packs a big punch.  Hope is hidden potential.  Hidden potential is God’s plan for us.  When the odds are stacked against us, we’re tired and weary, and we just don’t see how anything is possible, hope tells us that the impossible is possible.  Hope is not logical, reasonable, or conceivably attainable.  But, God sees such a different perspective.  He says…

Watch Me make a way when you don’t see one (Isaiah 30:21). I have plans for your life (Philippians 1:6).  Have hope (Psalm 62:5).  Even if you give up, I’m not going to.  Never (Isaiah 40:28-31).  I created you, love you, and will never leave you (Psalm 17: 8; Psalm 139:13-14).  I will plant you, water you, make you strong, and cheer you as you grow (Isaiah 61:3b).  I will delight in your blooms and sing over you (Zephaniah 3:17).  What the world meant for harm, I will work for your good (Romans 8:28).  Everyone else may have given up and left you, but I have not and will not (Matthew 28:20; John 14:18).  Seasons of life are continually changing (Ecc. 3:1-8) you need only to trust Me.  Continue growing in Me, and wait for the bloom (Psalm 130:5). You are beautiful now in the growing season; and will continue to be when My light is revealed through you and others see the work of My hand and praise Me (Matthew 5:16).  Don’t be afraid to ask big of Me (Ephesians 3:20-21).  I am the Good Father and you can trust Me (Matthew 7:7-11).

When we feel like we’ve been discarded by life – forgotten and useless – where we are may be right where we need to be for a new beginning.  Waiting is hard.  We want results now, but we know good things are worth the wait.  Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling:

Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do…I have promised many blessings to those who wait on Me: renewed strength, living above one’s circumstances, resurgence of hope, awareness of My continual presence.

We must give God time and space to work in our lives.  When we can’t see what He is doing, we know He is working twice as hard beneath the surface to fulfill His purpose for us (Ps 33:11).  Grow.  Keep growing.  Keep growing.  Wait for the bloom – what a beautiful sight, like the sunflower, you will be.

Oh, as a follow-up, it was absolutely amazing to me when, as the sunflower continued to remind me every day of hope, God’s plan, and true beauty that can come ever so unexpectedly, one day I saw another bud appear.  Another sunflower?  I thought.  Nope.  Something even more of an enigma.  It grew to be, in fact, a 4 foot tall corn stalk!  Yes!  Right there, nestled between typical flowerbed foliage and the single, sparkling sunflower, was an actual stalk of corn – born out of a corn kernel discarded by the squirrels.  Just when we think there is nothing good that can come from an experience, God does the remarkable with our leftovers and creates a work of art.  When we doubt and say There is no way, God says, Just watch me.  Never underestimate His power or plan for your life.  You just never know when a miracle will pop up.

<<Check out the two bonus companion songs to this blog on my Tunes page!>>

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