by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28
I bought them on faith. In mid-spring two years ago, beautiful tulips called to me as I approached the self-checkout at Kroger. Whenever I see flowers at grocery stores, I have to smell them and pet them. (Yes, pet them. I used to have a cat.) If I can smell a sweet scent, I have to restrain myself not to buy them. I had to see if these tulips smelled good. They did.
I noticed that some had already bloomed, and they were a gorgeous hot pink with white edges. Other bunches had partly opened blooms, so I went for one of those sets. Although the “sell by” date on the sticker told me that maybe I shouldn’t spend three dollars to take them home, I hoped that they would bloom eventually and live longer than the other flowers. I believed in what these flowers could become.
When I got home, my faith waned. Will they really open? I thought. Maybe the sell-by sticker was right, and I should have bought the other set. I trimmed the stems and put them in water. I set the vase next to a window and let twilight beckon them to open. A few minutes later, all five flowers had opened, some smiling more brightly than others. They smelled the sweetest of any flowers I had found for years.
I smiled and thanked God. He doesn’t give up on us, His “flowers.” Too many times I’ve gone through a struggle and wondered if this was it. Was I going to become unusable to God? Would He still give me opportunities to serve Him even though I had messed up again? Would I ever bloom into a lovely display of grace, strength, or wholeness like I needed to be and be able to sustain that victory?
There are some days when we may look like we’re not going to bloom and we’re past our prime—past the best chance of growth or usefulness. Maybe we’ve struggled too long with a particular burden, or worry has chased away our joy and along with it, our sweet “scent.” Our “sticker” may tell others to pass us by and not hope that something good will come from us.
But God knows how to make us flourish. A little sunlight, some fresh water, and some warmth. His love and power can flow into our souls and revive us. Then we start to bloom—and smell good. Love is key to having a sweet scent.
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2 NKJV).
God tends the gardens of our hearts, helping us to bloom. He patiently and faithfully teaches us to walk in His love. As we love others, we reflect His beauty for the world to see and draw them closer to His heart. In God’s garden, we’re free to bloom, we’re able to flourish, and we have Someone who cares for us and knows what we can become.
He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 NKJV
About the author: Katy Kauffman is a Bible study author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. Her writing tends to focus on winning life’s spiritual battles, and she loves connecting with writers and creating compilations such as Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage and Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character
Join the conversation: What is the Great Gardner cultivating in your life right now?