“For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.” Isaiah 51:3
A friend recently showed me her night-blooming cereus plants, and pictures of their spectacular flowers. One, with thick tongue-shaped leaves, blooms only once, at night, and only for a few hours; the other, ganglier with even longer leaves, had a bud that has since blossomed at night and stayed open until morning dawned. But they never bloom in the daylight.
For man, blooming in the ‘light’ of happy circumstances, good health, compliant children, ordered circumstances, financial ease, comfortable surroundings, self-directed schedules, is almost effortless. Like plants, we can flourish in good conditions. But what about the gloom of sorrow and loss, the night of waiting and longing, the grief when loved ones choose destructive paths, the shadow of the unknown prognosis or frightening future? How do we bloom there, and then? Only by the Creator’s power and life-giving impulse. He Who brought life and salvation to us who were dead in sin calls to magnificent, joyful bloom what seems impossibly hopeless–and it’s the dark that makes the glory possible. God forges treasures of darkness with incomparable beauty.
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. The glory of the LORD will be revealed.” “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. I, I am he who comforts you.” Isaiah 40:3,5; 51:11-12a
Lord, You speak and stir in the whirlwind. You order waste places and wildernesses to make all the more glorious the beauty of Your life, hope, and joyful song. Keep me connected and growing in the darkness, dependent on You Who brings beauty there, that I may bloom in every place You plant me, to the praise of Your glory.