Dear reader, I wrote this some time ago, and was thinking about it today, needing to remember for me, that God is at work and He is growing me. I wanted to share it with you, praying that whomever reads it, will be blessed.
A forced bulb must first spend a period of time in a cold, dark place before it blooms. So, too, God oftentimes calls us into the darkness first before we bloom to our fullest.
When you force a bulb, you take the bulb that you desire to grow, plant it in a shallow dish filled with soil or a bed of rocks, and place it in a cool place, like a cellar or refrigerator. The purpose of the cold dark time is for the root system to develop. The bulb appears to lie dormant in the lonely, isolated environment. After the allotted amount of time, you bring the bulb out.
On the outward appearance, there seems to have been no progress. In fact, it appears as if nothing at all has happened, and perhaps the time has been a waste. No surface growth. No flowers. No evidence of “green.”
However, over days and weeks, growth becomes evident. At first, stubby little shoots force their way out of the bulb, and grow taller and taller, reaching toward the light. Eventually, buds and then blooms appear, accompanied by a lovely, sweet aroma. If the bulb does not spend time in the cold, dark place first, the experts say, it does not grow as intended. The potential is there, but the growth and the bloom is not.
God knows what we heed to grow spiritually, as well.
I believe that God works on developing our spiritual root system of faithfulness, perseverance, steadfastness, trust, dependence, and wisdom. He desires to grow us to be more like the loveliest of flowers. In God’s infinite wisdom, from time to time, He hides us away. He plants us in a fertile soil, which may not look all that fertile on the outside. He takes us, and puts us in a “cold, dark” place of affliction. We may experience loneliness, suffering, depression, rejection, fears, or abandonment.
It is in this place of affliction or despair that God is doing his greatest, silent work.
When He begins to pull us out of this “place,” it appears to us that we have not grown. Like the bulb, we feel dried up, ugly, without any purpose or potential. We are just bulbs, still sitting in the dirty soil, with no outward change. Perhaps we are not even aware of the strong, wide spreading root system that has been developing below us, grounding us and creating a firm base for our eventual, growth.
Slowly, reaching toward the Light, we begin to grow. The fresh green color may catch us by surprise, as day by day, week by week, we begin to get taller and stronger. We begin to bloom and glorify God, just as He had planned for us. The aroma that we emit is fragrant and reflective of His aroma.
“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:2-5. (NIV)
In remembering this, we can rest more quietly knowing that, in submitting to God’s plan for our lives, He has something for us, beyond what we would have ever imagined. The small, ugly bulb does not think or know what it will become. It submits itself to the One who plants it, trusting Him for the outcome.