Full Bloom

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” “I bow my knees before the Father, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Isaiah 35:1-2; Ephesians 3:14,16-19

The royal poinciana tree spends most of the year looking bare and lifeless, like a wind-whipped umbrella. But then comes June, when earthlings leave for holiday, and the spectacular profusion of blooms moves in, taking up residence on every limb and twig, dressing the graceful canopies in the most magnificent vermillion. The regal array of red finery arrests even the most distracted passerby with its splendor. I have seen trees that only half-bloom, probably because of limited sun-exposure, and while nicely-shaped and still eye-catching, they are nothing like the full-blooming royals.

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In our lives we go through seasons that appear fruitless, but God is working in our roots and grounding even during those desert times to produce rich, abundant blossoms. There are wildernesses of the heart, where heaviness or arid communion with our Lord seem to outweigh hope, but even here, the Lord is present and brings His flourishing through desperate dependence and deeper trust. Continual exposure to His light nourishes every part of us, bringing fruit not only from the healthy limbs of energy, tenacity, eager willingness, but also from weakness, fatigue, discouraging uncertainty. It is His Spirit in our inner being Who strengthens, Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith Who fills us with His fullness, God Himself Who produces fruit for His glory. (Philippians 2:13)

Am I choosing to thrive where it is easiest or where I am most comfortable, at the neglect of other areas where God wants me to place some attention? Is He calling me to expose my weaknesses that I tend to keep in the shade to His empowering light, so He can bring about strength in new and different places? Do I limit the full flourishing He intends because I’m staid in my ways and unwilling to allow Him to stretch me? Can I implicitly trust Him when I’m in the dry land to work invisibly to bring about gladness in His time, in a way that exalts Him?

Good Father, Your love and power are measureless to reach every part of me. Swallow my timidity and discouragement and fear in Your all-encompassing grace. Soak me completely in Your life-giving light. Please infuse me with Your Spirit from the deepest root to the farthest tip, that I may bloom fully, in thought, word, and deed, for Thee. (Colossians 2:6-7)

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