I was looking for flowers to plant in my shady backyard. Although I always admire the plants that grow in direct sunlight, I know from years of experience that the flowers that grow in the shade are really the only ones that work for my yard. This year, I found the most beautiful Double Impatiens. The blossoms are delicate and bold in color, resembling little ballerina tutus. I chose the ones that I liked and brought them home to pot them up.
I knew that God had something to say to me today through these flowers, but at first I wasn't sure. However, as the day went by, I kept feeling His gentle touch and voice say to me, "I chose you, too, Andrea." Later in the afternoon I went on a walk, and the Lord and I began to have a conversation that went something like this.
"Why did you choose the flowers that you did today?"
"Because I knew that they would grow best in the shade, and they would make my yard look the prettiest."
"What if you planted the ones you bought in the sun, instead?"
"They would not bloom. They would not thrive and they may even dry up and not live."
"And how will you care for them?"
"I will plant them in good soil, fertilize and water them."
"And what do you think of those flowers?"
"I think they are beautiful."
And then I understood what the Lord wanted me to hear today. "Just as you chose those flowers for the spot in which they would best grow, so have I chosen for you the spot in which I know you will best grow. Like the Impatiens, who thrive in the shade, so I have chosen the shade for you. This is where you will bloom brightest and best. I will care for you. I will plant you in this place and I will fertilize you and water you with my grace and my love. This is the best place for you, trust Me. If I were to plant you anywhere else, you would not flourish and blossom like I know you have the potential to do. And by the way, I created you and I think you are beautiful, too."
Dear reader, perhaps you find yourself planted in the shade of affliction. Sometimes life may seem darker to us than it is for others around us (and it can be!), or darker than we would like ourselves. It can be hard to understand God's ways. But God loves each of us very much. He chooses what is right for us, for our good, that we would bloom and grow, and that we would bring glory to Him. He cares for each of us tenderly. He plants us in a place that will bring us life, and life abundantly. He truly does know what is best. It may take time for us to see the beauty that God has in store for us, just as it will take time for my flowers to be full and overflowing, but He is faithful.
"Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption" Psalm 130:7.