I’ve been thankful over the years for the extra closet space which my husband drywalled, hung a door, and I painted a light shade of green. Instead of the intended storage for our vacuum cleaner and broom, it has made a great spot for meeting with God. Just my Bible, chair, and small resource table. The walls have pictures of the kids, flowers, and prayer quotes including the title of this blog, “Where Flowers Bloom So Does Hope.”
Our girls planted the Zinnia flower bed this June. Those tall bright petaled flowers always remind me of the summer I stayed with my Grandma. She had me sow zinnia seeds in the same spot her husband had for so many years, before he passed away. Their cheery presence brought her memories of his steady and productive life and gave her hope to keep growing beautiful things in the years that followed without him.
Little seeds – big hope.
Something else grew in our Zinnia flower bed – sand burrs! I’ve lived in what’s called ‘the world’s largest stabilized desert’ nearing twenty years. Lots of prickly things grow here. Many Sandhills settlers during the Kincaid Act tried to grow things that simply would NOT grow, until they brought cattle to graze on the abundant grass. But overgrazing sometimes led to blowouts with no returning grass and no hope for next year’s cattle crop.
Hopeless feelings are the most uncomfortable moments of my life. Times that make me squirm and which I never want to repeat. Times I’d rather read about in others … and cheer THEM on when hope arrives. But God sheds hope on the otherwise dark moments of my life in unexpected ways, ways I’m learning to anticipate now.
Like a tiny flower seed bursting forth in a desert land, we can expect HOPE to begin underground.
Sandhillers learned rotational grazing, giving the depleted areas time to replenish. Decades later and the Sandhills are still described as fragile but have become one of the top cattle-producing areas anywhere. God gives the gift of regrowth in a dry and weary land.
Psalm 63 is my Zinnias-in-the-Sandhills Psalm:
“O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (vs. 1) I’ve had some desertlike trials as a church-planting pastor’s wife. Moments of prickly aggravation that feel like sandburs in my socks. Sandburs struggle to survive if surrounding grass is watered properly and it’s the same for me spiritually. Hope flourishes with the steady watering of God’s Word in my life!
“So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory.” (vs. 2) Thankfully, my husband has become skilled at using tweezers to pick out the tiny spears that become lodged, and cause great irritation in humans and animals, and he rather enjoys the relief this ability brings to the victims. I find no greater relief in my trials than to behold GOD in His sanctuary!
“Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.” (vs. 3-4) Worship is grown in the seedbed of beholding.
“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips, when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.” (vs. 5-7) I have a life-long struggle with satisfaction. Contentment comes hard. I’d rather eat dark-chocolate covered almonds than God’s Word some days. But those crunchy delights don’t help me through the watches of the night. Ha!
“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” (vs. 8) The word cling means ‘to hold tightly to’; it’s life or death. My 9-year old hands would cling to the pull-up bar at school and desperately try to lift my body above that bar. I got blisters instead of success every time. It’s not like that with God. He’s not only worthy of our souls holding tightly onto Him, He’s our ONLY hope of rising above the pull-up bar.
“But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.” (vs. 9-10) Jackals might be furry animals but they don’t make good pets. Similar to coyotes, they hunt mostly alone or in pairs at dusk or dawn. Our greatest enemy, Satan, seeks to devour our hope. Stay planted and rooted in Christ dear one, hope is found in Him!
“But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by Him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.” (vs. 11) I was just telling the ‘M&M cookie story’ to our four girls again while we were baking together recently. When our daughter Annalise was 4, she and I were making M&M cookies when I noticed she was mostly eating M&M’s. I asked her to stop. She looked at me with an epic struggle in her eyes and shoved another handful in her mouth. Liars mouths will be stopped . . . not by candy but by God!
Prayer: Lord God, I come to You at times like a dry and prickly sandbur who lacks hope. Help me LOOK upon You and BEHOLD Your power and glory. I ask You to bring flowers of hope today in my dry places; water and refresh me through Your Word.
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