This past weekend, as I was walking on the University of Oregon campus, it seemed that the Lord was speaking to me through so many things that I was seeing. I gained four reminders that encouraged me, and I’d like to share them with you.
The first one was that sometimes we will be planted into difficult unfriendly circumstances. But we are to “bloom where we are planted.” Like this little daffodil, our surroundings may be less that encouraging.
I think we’ve all heard that phrase, “Bloom where you are planted.” It is not from the Bible, but there is Biblical truth in it. The apostle Paul said that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances that he was in. (Phil. 4:11) And, in fact, Paul plainly stated in 1 Corinthians 7:17 that each one of us should live our lives in the situation the Lord assigned to us. He repeated the teaching in verses 20 and 24 of the same chapter. In Mark 11, Jesus cursed a fig tree that had no fruit even though it was not the season for fruit. Later, when his disciples questioned him about that, Jesus responded that they were to have faith. I believe that he was saying to them that if they would have faith in what God can do, that they could bear fruit/blossom even when it seemed impossible to do so. The little daffodil pictured above was not planted in the most friendly or conducive of spots, but it was doing it’s best to show its beauty in that pot. It was a reminder to me to stop grumbling and complaining and saying, “I’ll do it later when things are better.” I need to do my best according to God’s grace in the situation that I am in.
The second lesson came from another little daffodil that was growing “all alone”. It looked that way, at least. And I felt sorry for it. However, when I looked around, I discovered that it really was not alone. Separated a bit, but not alone. (See the second picture.) It reminded me that although I’ve been ‘socially distanced’ from many of my friends for months and months, and separated by miles from others, I am not really alone. God, whom I cannot see is right beside me, and there are others nearby, if I will only look around and reach out from my little corner.
So, what so we do when we are feeling alone, overwhelmed by circumstances? We remind ourselves that we are never alone. I often walk around to the west side of Matthew Knight Arena, and if the sun is in the right spot in the evening sky, I will see the reflection that you will see in the picture below. It reminds me that God is always with me in every spot, even the reflection in a window! And I am reminded of John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.”
My fourth lesson this weekend came from a sign in a restaurant window. Here in Eugene as in most of your towns and cities, restaurants have been closed. Things are slowly beginning to open up here in Eugene, and this restaurant wanted folks to know that.
But, you know, the one thing that has brought much comfort to me throughout this whole pandemic, is that our Lord is never “closed”! Psalm 121:3 assures us that God, our Protector never sleeps! He is always “open for business”! Jeremiah 33:3 tells us that God says, “Call on me, and I will answer and tell you great and incomprehensible things that you do not know.”
So, my outtake from this weekend was that circumstances and situations may look less than ideal sometimes, and that although I may feel alone sometimes, in fact, I am never alone! My God and Savior loved me so much that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins so that I may have fellowship and eternal life with Him! He loved me THAT MUCH and He is not going to leave me nor be unavailable to me when I call out to Him.