Friday, October 1, 2010

Bloom Where Planted

“…The desert will blossom with flowers.” Isaiah 35:1a

It seems the negative things in my surroundings can easily make me discontented. Like the cold cement floors, the biggest creepiest spiders I ever saw in my life, rats thumping around in their traps, no flush toilet, the neighbor’s booming bass ‘music’ coming through the walls, or a screeching train nearby.

One of the most delightful pleasures this summer has been my daily walk through our neighborhood. Nestled among our homes is a section of land set apart for natural growth; mostly really what we would probably consider weeds. At first it looked unkempt and scruffy. Then suddenly the field transformed into a captivating beautiful garden. The various weeds, or whatever was growing, began to bloom. Beautiful!

Maybe you feel in an analogous way that you are living in that plot of land that resembles nothing but scruffy weeds. You moved there with dreams but after awhile the drabness of either the scenery or the condition of the people encompassed in poverty(or opulent wealth), corruption or spiritual darkness has started to get to you. A greater indoor confinement due to being a woman living in a conservative Islamic country has begun to take its toll on your usual cheerful spirit. When our surroundings or conditions disappoint us we can feel we’re more withering than blooming. I have marvelled at my late mom and dad’s resilient attitudes. I’m just not like them. The first ten years in hot Yemen they lived without a fan, fridge, or ice, and with lots of dust and sand and prickly heat. Somehow they were able not only to survive but bloom in a difficult and sometimes harsh environment. How was it possible? I grew up with those kind of parents but I turned out so ‘soft’. I remember just moving to a new city and right outside our living room window was a gorgeous row of pine trees. But one particular tree was not fully developed and bothered me considerably. Some people would rejoice if they had just one tree. I discovered after moving in that there was no sound of birds in those trees either. Silence. What happened to the birds? There should be lots of them singing away. It bothered me until one day I went outside and asked God to send the birds and fill out the sparse looking tree. Well, lo and behold, it wasn’t long until the birds flocked to the trees and by the time we left that tree had filled out beautifully. For sure God was teaching me to develop deeper contentment but I think He also wanted me to pray in faith believing that God could transform even destitute or undesirable things. I do believe learning contentment is important but I have also since learned to ask God for the bass music to be removed next door and birds to return and trees to fill out. God can transform both us and our surroundings.

Dear heavenly Father, while I try to grow in contentment please also supply the faith to believe you can transform either my attitude or the situation distressing me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.