My gerbera daisy is blooming with glorious golden blossoms. Although it’s October 25, it’s going to be close to 80 degrees here in North Carolina today. Perhaps it’s not that odd that my plant is enjoying an Indian summer. What’s curious to me is that this is the first time this daisy has bloomed all year. I haven’t seen any color (other than green) on it since last summer (2011). For me, gardening is not an area of expertise, but I think gerbera daisies are usually treated as annuals where I live. But this one held onto its green leaves throughout the mild winter, and I left it alone to do its thing come spring. But spring came, and the daisy didn’t do its thing. Bloom, I mean. It survived but didn’t thrive. Until October. Until an unexpected season.
I know there’s probably a horticultural explanation…like maybe I was supposed to fertilize it or something. But now as I look at these beautiful blossoms, I prefer to see God’s perfect timing on display.
Ecclesiastes 3: 11 says that God has made everything beautiful in its time.
Leading up to the fall, 2012 had not been an especially challenging year for me personally, though I observed a great deal of grief and loss around me. Dear friends lost their spouses and parents. I grieved alongside, but it’s different, I know. Except for the painful loss of a beloved friend and pastor, my mourning has been at a distance.
Spiritually speaking, I’ve been healthy and green, as in: spending time with God in the Bible and in prayer; leading women’s Bible studies; and serving with my church community.
One day in the late summer, I felt an inner prompting to sign up for a Bible study: When Life is Hard (written by James MacDonald). I thought this a little odd because I couldn’t necessarily say that I was experiencing anything hard. But I studied counseling in seminary, so I reasoned that God must have in mind for me to take a refresher course. You know, to help someone else.
Like my daisy, I am a late bloomer.
Earlier this year I was surviving. Now I am thriving. Not in a cheerful, carefree, outward kind of way. Rather, I am thriving in an unexpected season. A season that has brought uncertainty and sadness and fear.
In a new way, I’m experiencing the most fruitful dependence upon the Lord. I need Him to nourish my joy, peace, and faith and I find that His presence and hope are increasingly real.
While I was still in the “summer” phase of this year, I also signed up for a Bible study on Romans 5. The first eight verses were already pretty familiar to me, but now I feel as if I am reading them through new lenses. Perspective is a gift, even when it’s packaged in pain.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Believe me, in these verses, I have come to appreciate more fully the part about trials producing endurance, character, and hope. But you know what has meant more to me than anything? The little phrase I never noticed before: “at just the right time” (verse 6).
If Jesus met my greatest need at just the right time, I can trust Him to take care of everything else.
At just the right time.
In an unexpected season, trust Him to give you what you need, not just to survive but blossom and thrive.