Bloom or Die?


Not a terribly glorious geranium, is it?

We moved a month or so ago and this poor plant hasn't had a lot of attention lately. In fact, I plunked it down on a wall where it gets part shade and part sun, and radically cut back the stems. We're in an arid spot with a lot of wind and heat. I've given it leftover dishwater.

Yesterday I looked out and saw this little flower lifting its head. I chuckled derisively, recalling the lush foliage and beautiful blooms it's had before.

But it started me thinking. Does it matter what this plant used to be? Just because in other circumstances it has dazzled people, does that obligate it to continue? I don't think so.

It's been stressed by the changes, but it's still alive. This little flower is a valiant effort in light of the circumstances. Blooming is the plant's raison d'ĂȘtre. Last year the leaves were abundant, but I don't think it gave one flower.

I'm not here to discuss horticulture--you can give me advice on light, shade, watering, soil, and nutrients, but either the little geranium flowers or not. No, I'm not callous, just practical. Bloom or die, I say. And look, the thing is blooming!

God has put me in some very stressful situations lately. I'm struggling with circumstances, but I'm still alive. Can I bloom? Frankly, part of my problem is that I remember when I was leafy and lush, blooming every day, if I may stretch the metaphor that far. My soil was rich, the sun perfect, the wind gentle and the water abundant. Blooming was so natural. I think back and almost give up. I've already bloomed, I think.

But then this ratty old plant put out this little bit of red blossom that caught my eye. Flowers don't come because a plant intends them. They're a natural result of life. Stress can curtail growth. It comes in many forms--for this plant it's all about the environment. For me, it's emotional and spiritual stress.

I don't know if we can compare Martha's distraction at preparing a big dinner for Jesus and his disciples to the kind of ongoing stress some of us have suffered, but stay with me here. In Luke 10:38-42 it says:
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The one thing that Mary did was worship Jesus, sitting at his feet listening to his teaching. "There is only ONE THING worth being concerned about." It's what we're all designed to do.

Do you think that little bedraggled, stressed out geranium is worshipful? By that I mean that the plant just turned to the sun and blossomed because that's what is was designed by God to do.

I was designed to be a worshiper, glorifying God.
Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:11-12)
It makes no difference if my blossoms can't compare to what they were before, any more than it matters to this little plant. So, if it's bloom or die, I guess I'm still blooming.

May it please the Lord.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. (Isaiah 35: 1-2)

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