Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Waiting for the Bloom

on April 15, 2014

The following display of text is from a  devotional email I have been receiving for the past few weeks.  It spoke volumes to me this morning, and I would like to share the text, as well as some of my own personal thoughts and reflections as they relate.

Lent Day 42 – Flowers in the Desert
We began these daily Lent reflections by noting how Lent takes us into a spiritual desert. Biblical people knew all about the desert: Abraham has to cross it to get to the promised land; Moses and the Israelite people have to go through it to get home; Joseph is sent into Egypt and prison before he is ready for his mission; John the Baptist is a voice crying in the desert; Paul goes into the desert of Arabia after meeting the Lord on the road to Damascus. Even Jesus himself spends forty days and nights in the desert before commencing his ministry–the template on which Lent is based.

What does the desert symbolize? A number of things: confrontation with our own sin so as to see our dark side; a deep realization of our dependency upon God; an ordering of our priorities in life; a simplification, a getting back to basics. It means any and all of these things.

However, the desert also symbolizes waiting in anticipation. Desert wanderers are compelled to wait, in a time and place where very little life seems to be on offer, in hope of better things to come.

And it’s precisely in such hopeful deserts that flowers bloom. Moses becomes a great leader; Abraham is the father of many nations; Joseph becomes the savior of his people; John the Baptist is the forerunner of the Messiah; Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles-all of this flowering was made possible by the desert.

So as we near the end of Lent, the end of our desert waiting, and move toward the Holy Triduum, let’s prepare for new flowers to bloom.

The words that especially ring true for me today are these:

What does the desert symbolize? A number of things: confrontation with our own sin so as to see our dark side; a deep realization of our dependency upon God; an ordering of our priorities in life; a simplification, a getting back to basics. It means any and all of these things. 

However, the desert also symbolizes waiting in anticipation. Desert wanderers are compelled to wait, in a time and place where very little life seems to be on offer, in hope of better things to come. 

 

Compelled to wait.  The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines compel:

: to force (someone) to do something

: to make (something) happen : to force (something)

So, in this desert time, I have been forced to wait.  That makes absolute sense to me!  I am waiting in so many areas of my life!

For me, this desert season has been like going to the doctor’s office.  I wonder if I am the only one who has had this experience:

I go to the doctor, and  expect to wait.  It’s just part of the deal.  I expect to wait a reasonable amount of time, of course.  The first part of the waiting is done in the “waiting room”, where I am waiting in community with other people.  There are other patients waiting to see the doctor.  There are receptionists at the desks.  There’s usually a television to keep me occupied. The waiting during this phase of the appointment seems to be fairly easy. Then, I get called back.  I walk with a nurse who asks me some questions, and then she leaves me alone.  Alone.  And I wait. And wait.  And wait.  Alone.  And I find myself waiting patiently at first. But then the time starts ticking a little slower, and I begin listening for the doctor’s voice to get louder.  And I begin wondering if the doctor forgot about me.  I  hear him going into other rooms, and the muffled conversations he is having with other patients, and I find myself feeling irritated that he seems to be going everywhere else but my room.  I start looking at the time.  I catch myself  sighing with frustration from time to time.  I begin flipping through that magazine that I have no interest in.  I look at the time again.  And I wonder:  Where is that doctor?

Can you relate?  Do you ever experience the slow, but steady progressive wave of impatience that sneaks over you during the waiting process?

That’s where I am starting to find myself at lately.  Impatient for God to move.  Wanting Him to operate on my time schedule, instead of His.  The only problem with that?  If I want it to be part of His perfect plan, I have to wait.  He gives me freedom to act at any time I choose.  I can move on my own strength and in my own time, but if I’ve learned anything at all, it is that moving apart from God NEVER winds up with me being satisfied.

So, as difficult as it is, today I will choose to be patient.  I will choose to let God run the show.  I will choose to rely on His timing rather than my own. Will I like it?  Honestly, I might not.  But, that’s alright, God doesn’t need my approval.

The reading today reminds me that there is a PURPOSE in this season of my life.  There is purpose in the desert wandering, purpose in the waiting, purpose in the struggle.  For me, right this very moment, that is enough.

I am fueled by the hope that from this desert, there will come beautiful blooms.  Blooms that can only come as a direct result of where I am today. So….I’ll wait.

 

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