Monday, June 8, 2015

At your Peak? .............. Parables 284

September 11, 1991

All summer one of my friends kept telling me I was “really blossoming.” Far from seeing myself as a rose or even a daisy, I decide to look up the word “blossom,” remembering that even stink weeds can do that.

According to Webster, “blossoming” is a peak period or stage of development. It is when something (usually a flowering plant) comes into the mature state that it was intended to reach. My friend, however, used this metaphor to describe a spiritual peak. Comparing the flowers in my garden with God’s design for my life helped me to praise Him for her observation.

First of all, “blossoming,” whether according to Webster or a biblical definition, is not something I can do myself. If I am indeed at a “peak,” it is the result of God’s abundant grace, grace that is available to everyone. In fact, with God’s grace, spiritual growth and blossoming are an amazing phenomena.

His work of producing “blossoming” people is much like the work of a flower gardener. The gardener clears the soil; God prepares the heart. The gardener plants the seeds; God plants the gospel. The gardener waters with a hose; God uses His Word. In the plant world, the gardener takes a geranium out of the basement and into the light where new shoots displace the old. In the spiritual world, God transplants a sinner out of the realm of darkness into the kingdom of His Son where his old life “passes away” and new life begins. So in both plants and people, when new life sprouts God causes it.

The Master Gardener also uses various methods to nurture His “plants.” He weeds by clearing away sinful thoughts and actions. He prunes by chopping off unfruitful habits. He waters with His Word and provides lots of Son-shine. He also hardens young plants through gentle exposure to trials. (My mother always claimed petunias bloom better if hit with a rake now and then!)

Of course, each “plant” must cooperate with these provisions for growth. Rebellious plants are called weeds and rebellious Christians (I speak from experience) cannot produce blossoms.

Although my new life from God began years ago, my friend is convinced this is my season for prolific blossoming. She points out how God placed me in a fertile place - Bible college - and how He has surrounded me with the strong supporting growth of a vibrant congregation in the church we attend and over 800 encouraging students and teachers. Besides that, He is producing some outstanding blooms at home in the life of my husband. All that growth stimulates my own.

However, as far as comfort goes, life is not “all roses.” Since the best blossoms are produced in a “clean” environment, the Lord has been doing some weeding and pruning, digging into my heart and finding some deep rooted false values I didn’t know I had. Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Of course His big hoe hurts but He promised “Behold, I will do a new thing...” For me, that new thing meant not only a move into a special environment and tender nourishment but some severe trials to “toughen” my faith along with some painful pruning and deep weeding.

My friend is too kind to say that I’m a “late-bloomer” but thank God that is better than no blooms at all. And I am not always sure if my life will come up roses, or if all those weeds are out, but I do know this: As my face turns towards His Sonshine and my roots go deeper into Him, I am deeply grateful I’ve been transplanted into the garden of the Lord.

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