A brief trip to the backyard today presented me a lovely suprise. All three of my rose bushes were not only flowering but doing so in abundance. I marveled at the beautiful colors that swayed in the wind and the sight of those colors in the midst of the bright green leaves. I grabbed my pruners to cut some roses and as I did so, I felt so many thoughts welling up inside me. I was pruning those branches and I couldn't help but recall the numerous times I have heard sermons or bible studies talking about how the Lord prunes each of us in our lives. He systematically cuts away the dead or unnecessary branches so that we might become more fruitful for Him. A wonderful analogy and one worth remembering but that wasn't what struck me today.
I thought back over our summer here in Dallas, the intense heat and unrelenting dryness. I didn't pay much attention to those rose bushes in over 100 degree temps and lately we've had lots of wind and rollercoaster temperatures. The conditions may not have been ideal but those roses had the two things they needed, sun and (eventually) rain. God provided for the most basic needs and despite the other harsh conditions, there they were, those beautiful, fragrant blooms.
I couldn't help but wonder if that was the true lesson for me today. God promises to provide for my needs and He does. He doesn't promise that my circumstances will be ideal but I am challenged to find the joy and by faith to proclaim His goodness and mercy in the midst of those struggles. I am supposed to bloom regardless of hardship and, in doing so, point back to the one who sustains me and cares for me. In those moments, God is glorified.