Friday, July 29, 2011

A Blossom for a Day

Don't be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.
(James 3:1-3)

I am blessed to have two beautiful hibiscus bushes in my front yard.  I worried that they were blighted by the frosts of this past winter and the dryness of this summer.  Yet, as I drive up almost every evening, there are the bright pink blossoms on full display!   The leaves are a rich green and the blossoms are full. Yet, as I consider these magnificent plants, I am caught by the majesty of their blossoming.  The work so hard to prepare that blossom, but it lasts only one day.

As  came through Bible College, I had a very wise professor who spoke words into my life that I will never forget.  I was struggling with the balance between raising young children, being a wife, and the continual demands to keep up with the intense studies.  He asked me if I was willing to prepare a lifetime to be used ONE day by God.  Most of us would just jump right in and answer in the affirmative on that one, but he made me go home, think it through and then come the reality of that answer in my spirit.

The fact was, preparing for a LIFETIME to only be used just ONE day in the hands of God seemed pretty overwhelming.  What the professor was doing was asking me to both count the cost and to evaluate my motives.  Just like the hibiscus blossom, I could be asked to put in a whole lot of time "forming" before I ever had the "glory" of being on display as God's handiwork.  The same is true of all of us.  We don't get things perfect just because we determine to do them right!

In fact, we often fail!  We try - fail - try again - fail again - try yet again....  You get the drift.  We don't always "blossom" the first time we try.  My hibiscus plants went through two years of no blossoms.  Yep, lots of rich green leaves, but no blossoms.  I thought it was a problem with the watering cycle, so I stepped that up.  Then I thought it was a problem with fertilizing them, so I bought the necessary fertilizer and lavished that upon them.  Still, no blossoms for two years.

What happened with my hibiscus?  I don't really know, but I do know that this year is awesome!  The blooms are magnificent.  Yet, the enjoyment of their "glory" is very limited!  One day - that is the extent of each bloom.  Just like that plant, we are often "dormant" for a season or two - in preparation for the glory that God will bring forth from our lives.  When that "blooming" occurs, there is a display of his majesty like no other!  Maybe I am being a little "weird" here, but I wonder if God asked my hibiscus if it was willing to prepare a LIFETIME to be used just ONE day in his hand?  If he did, maybe it responded back, "You bet!  Because what you will bring forth will be far better than what I could bring on my own!"

God may be asking you today if you are willing to do the "prep time" - learning through the failures to be something of awesome glory in his hands.  If so, don't be in a hurry to answer, but consider the cost, my friend.  Evaluate your motives.  There is a cost - perhaps a season or two without any signs of ever producing anything of beauty.  Yet, when the blooms of character are produced, what an awesome display of his glory!  Bloom on!