Consider the Lilies, the Tulips and the Daffodils, the Snow Drops and the Hyacinths. One of my favorite trips while we were stationed in Germany was to Lisse, Holland. I certainly enjoyed the immaculately maintained gardens of the Keukenhof, but it was the bulb fields surrounding it that captivated me. We saw and smelled Hyacinths blooming for miles in early April while flurries fell around us. I have always been amazed by the earliest spring blooms.They are so hardy in the frigid spring temperatures, often poking their lovely blooms up through ice and snow to give us hope of the thaw to come.
Last fall I planted nearly 100 bulbs around our home. I worked until my shoulders, hands and knees were stiff and sore and remember grumbling that they had better come up in the spring. In Colorado, spring can be a schizophrenic season. Last week we had temperatures in the 80s. I honestly can’t tell you the last time it rained, and we are plagued by extreme fire danger in much of the state. This added a new level to my admiration of these flowers. I always knew they could withstand the cold, but now I am witnessing them survive drought. as well, without showing any sign of drooping. The grass is still crunchy and straw-like, but the tulips are as lovely as ever. I was just about to turn on our sprinkler system when the weather forecast predicted 1-2 inches of snow last night following dangerously high winds.
As I was pondering how incredibly resilient these beautiful flowers truly are, a verse came to mind. “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?” Luke 12:27-28
These bulbs are simply buried under a few inches of soil and rock and left to endure the winter, then as temperatures warm signalling spring’s arrival they begin to sprout. Their green leaves and seemingly fragile blossoms fully exposed to every element mother nature has to unleash: frost, snow, wind, drought, heat. And God has made them beautiful and strong and resilient enought to withstand it all.
Army Spouses are resilient. Army Brats are resilient. Army Families are resilient. We hear that word a lot. One of my guilty pleasures is watching the show Army Wives and even the writers of that show recognized resiliency as an important character trait for those living a military lifestyle. In an early episode this season, one of the characters made a funny comment about being tired of needing to be resilient. I am certain I wasn’t alone in laughing about the truth of that statement.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that “…God created man in His own image.” God created each one of us with loving care to make us more beautiful and diverse than any of His other creations. He made each one of us strong and beautiful, too. And He cares for us through all life throws at us. The more faith we have that His plan for us is perfect, the more beautiful and resilient we become, able to withstand all the storms of life.
I believe God knew that my beautiful tulips needed water but that they also needed to withstand a winter storm in April, in order for them to maintain their cold hardiness for more bitter Colorado winters to come. Perhaps a more near-sighted gardener like myself might have watered them or insulated them from the storm, meaning to protect them from hardship, but ultimately weakening them. Sometimes I get so caught up praying for protection from the storms in my life, that I lose sight of how my Heavenly Gardener cares for me. How each trial He allows me to face makes me stronger, strengthens me for new challenges ahead, making me hardier and more resilient.
Have you weathered storms that provided you with strength you needed later in life? Are there things you are praying for shelter from now that God might be using to make you more resilient?
Perhaps instead I should pray: Lord, help me to trust in you for shelter from the cold, show me how to gently bend in the strong winds yet not break, teach me to quench my thirst during droughts by Your Word, help me to boldly bloom at Your appointed time bringing the hope of salvation to all who see me.