One of our neighbors has a bush in their front yard that is my absolute favorite in the springtime. Every year in late May, I eagerly watch to see if it’s in bloom as I drive past. It has beautiful white blossoms clustered together to form little orbs that are rather whimsical looking, and make me want to stop and stare to take in the beauty of it. I’m pretty sure I point it out to my kiddos every time we pass it. But it lasts for such a short time… two weeks at the very most. Then, as the white blooms brown and blow away, it begins to look like any other bush.
I drove past it a few days ago, and looked at it now blending into the various shades of green all around it. It’s still thriving, still doing what God created it to do, but in a much less striking way. And in a few weeks it’s leaves will fall to the ground, leaving it brown and bare as it waits for its next spring when it’s time to form little buds and burst into bloom again.
As I pondered this favorite bush, it struck me that each of us have blooming seasons. There are times when the things the Lord is doing in us are brilliantly displayed on the outside. We are flourishing physically, we have success in our jobs, we’re recognized and praised for an achievement we’ve worked hard for. I don’t know about you, but naturally, I love those seasons, and I want them to stay forever.
But those seasons, just like plants, are often short. The blooms don’t last forever. We begin to lose the petals, and we blend in again, life going back to same old, same old. We go through “winters” when we feel bare and lifeless. It’s difficult to be content in these times when we remember how exciting it was to have outward signs of vibrant life.
It can be easy to become jealous of those who seem to have longer blossoming seasons… Those who like African violets or fuchsia bloom year-round in the cozy indoors while we, like the lilac bush outside, sit dormant and covered in snow. Or, we covet the dramatic peony-like bursts of others while our blooms seem to appear like the tiny, often hidden bells of lily of the valley.
All of it ultimately comes back to this: Do I trust God? Do I trust that He knew what He was doing when He created me? Do I trust that He has called me to a specific purpose on this earth, and am I willing to be content and joyful in that? Am I willing to embrace the seasons He calls me to bloom and the seasons I’m called to look a little bare or blend in? Am I looking around in discontent, comparing myself to everyone else I’m not, or am I finding my identity in Him?
For the Christian, there is so much rest in submitting to God’s pattern for us–in remembering that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). Because of Jesus, we have the secret of being content in any and every phase of life (Phil. 4:13). And when our focus is on Him, we can catch hold of the vision He has for the blossoms and for the waiting in-between.