Where Are The Blossoms?

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Daylilies refuse to not bloom!

Ever since I was introduced to daylilies by a neighbor in 2004, I have been smitten with this perennial. Daylilies are a no-fuss and easily maintained plant which produces an artist’s palette of colorful blooms. I look forward to my daylilies every summer.

With the warmer winter of 2017, my daylilies were off to a fast and green start. Buds formed with the promise of many blooms. I dutifully cleaned the landscape beds, fluffed up the mulch, applied plant fertilizer and waited for the glorious arrival of my daylilies.

In mid-June, I noticed that some of the leaves were turning from green to yellow and eventually to brown. I wasn’t too worried as this is the natural progression of the leaves during the heat of summer. However, other troubling signs began to appear jointly. The buds were damaged and white flecks appeared all over the plants.

An online search revealed that I had a bad case of aphids, also known as plant lice. The plants would be okay, but the blooms were in doubt. Most likely, I would have to wait another year to experience their beauty. I was crushed. In thirteen years, I have never witnessed aphids and their damage on my daylilies. As a hands-on gardener, I should have caught this threat earlier. Yet, I was blindsided by this unexpected enemy.

I treated the root cause of the problem and decided to be thankful for any blooms this year. Despite the insect attack, there were still blooms. Although the flowers were fewer and smaller, these plants bloomed with an innate strength I wasn’t aware of. Each flower was a reminder of beauty that outlasted difficult circumstances intended to destroy it.

Gardening is a fitting analogy for many of life’s experiences. There are good “years” and bad “years.” There are victories and failures. Some things we can control while other things seem to control us. We will be blindsided despite our best efforts. We will be rewarded for our hard work. The common theme is an enduring hope that beckons us to keep on keeping on.

A friend shared a quote by Lilias Trotter that captures the pain and beauty in the reality of life’s sufferings.

“Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom.” Parables of the Cross, p.17 (Lilias Trotter)

We are to look for the blossoms in our lives. Reassurance of God’s beauty accompanies those blooms. We are filled with anticipation for God’s glory to be revealed in the least likely of places.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who willing subjected Himself to the cross, knew difficult circumstances and suffering.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

The victory became ours when Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead to define enduring hope. It is possible for our souls to unite with God’s beauty despite that which seeks to destroy us. Don’t give up! God is forming and protecting more blossoms that will prove His triumph anew. Refuse to not bloom right where you are at in life!

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LORD, Please Give Me the Big Miracle

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I wanted the big miracle. I was praying for the big miracle. I wanted God to change my breast cancer diagnosis to cancer-free, dumbfounding the doctors. I wanted God to banish the tumor, no surgeon needed. I wanted God to make my cancer journey easier, shorter and cheaper.

Every test result and every doctor’s visit was a painful reminder that my big miracle didn’t happen. Words of advice helped me to recognize what I needed as much as the big miracle. Words from a stranger who I met through a phone conversation arranged by a mutual friend. This breast cancer survivor advised me to quit praying for God to take away the cancer and to start praying for what was around the corner.

Her words spoke to my heart. I was so focused on the big miracle on my terms that I overlooked the miraculous in each day. Finally, I was able to rejoice in the miracles present all along. God’s confirmation of the medical team to guide my care. God’s peace for the type of treatment chosen. God’s comfort through the people he placed in my life. All miracles at just the right time in the perfect way from the heart of God to my troubled heart.

Oh, I continued to pray for the big miracle as we are taught to be bold in our requests. I know that God is more than able to deliver on the big miracles. But I also learned to trust God for the time in-between the big miracles. As I prayed for the big miracle, God in his mercy provided the bigger miracle. God desires to be in the mire of our lives. God treasures our relationship with him. Jesus chose to die on the cross to insure that relationship forever. All bigger miracles that abound for us this day. Thank you LORD for giving me the biggest miracle.

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 

Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.