Waiting On The Lord
Carrying a tall plastic tumbler half-filled with water in one hand and a pair of orange-handled scissors in the other, I stepped gingerly off the gravel road into the ditch. I had to lift my feet high over scratchy brown weeds while simultaneously avoiding the ant hills scattered over the sandy soil. Too late it occurred to me that sandals didn’t constitute appropriate footwear for my mission.
Life gets messy, doesn’t it? But there are rewards for those who persevere.
In only four or five well-placed steps, I had reached my objective: sunflowers. Hugging the fence line beyond the weeds, they rose wild from the dusty roadside, their faces lifted to the sun and the breeze. I forgot about the weeds and the ants as I cut a few blooms, depositing each one immediately in the plastic cup. Then I snipped a few more just because they made me smile.
That was a couple of days ago, a difficult day at the end of a difficult summer spent mourning the slow passing of a close friendship. I came late in life to the BFF scene – “best friends forever,” for anyone not into text messaging. But the Lord’s gift of a friend so like a sister to me came at a perfect time for each of us. For nine years, we shared virtually everything. For the first seven, we worked in the same office. For the last two, while we’ve been separated by hundreds of miles, cell phones and e-mail and frequent visits kept us close.
That closeness changed last June. Maybe I took our friendship for granted. Maybe I made mistakes that were too much for her to bear as her challenging new career began to take more and more of her time. What is certain is that our communication stopped. Sharing stopped. As summer wore relentlessly on, the bond between us grew as dry and brittle as weeds in August.
Back at home with my flowers, I chose a cut crystal vase to replace the plastic cup. The simplicity of the blooms – their golden roundness and rich, dark centers – accentuated the elegance of the sharp angled glass. The beautiful pairing made me smile again. But my pleasure was short-lived. Later in the evening I was dismayed to see that the golden heads hung down, drooping on stems made weak by my cutting. My disappointment was all out of proportion to the situation. I felt tricked, betrayed – by flowers, flowers I had cut. The next morning; from their spot on the kitchen counter, the yellow faces looked up at me as I added water to the vase. The thirsty stalks stood straight again, refreshed by a night spent soaking, drinking deep of the cool water, getting strong. I thanked the Lord for restoring their beauty.
Finally, I saw what the sunflowers were showing me. I could wait a bit longer. I could believe in forgiveness and growth. I could rest awhile by the waters of the Lord’s wisdom, drink in His hope, then begin again, trusting Him to lead the two friends He created to even more abundant life.
“…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength….” (Is. 40:31 KJV)
Lord, Your timing is always perfect. And You want only good things for all Your children. Please remind me of those truths when I’m giving up, when I’m tempted to think life is too messy, too hard. Thank you for showing me how to renew my strength, how to wait on You. You always show up, Lord. Thank you.