The actual flower and rock referenced in this post
Near the front door of our home in Mexico is a large rock. We didn’t put it there as part of the landscaping, God put it there thousands of years ago, and it’s so large that it’s going to stay where He put it.
The rock has a crack in it, and out of that crack grew a marigold flower. Again, we didn’t plant it there. Marigolds are native plants of Mexico so the breath of God (the wind) sowed the seed that became this plant.
If I were sowing a flower seed I would not have chosen to sow it in the cleft of the rock, but that’s where the wind brought it so that’s where it grew. It bloomed where it was planted, a place that was far from ideal.
You know where I’m going with this. I suspect I’ve written on this theme before, seeing a plant in a less than hospitable environment, photographing it, then writing about it. However, I’m forging ahead with this theme yet again, because I’ve learned over the years that part of my ministry is the ministry of reminding.
What I’m reminding us of this time around is that we’re called by God to bloom where He’s planted us. Not all of our circumstances are of our choosing. We’d change a number of them if we could. Yes, some circumstances we’ve been able to change, some we can yet change, but some we can’t.
The good news is that circumstances beyond our control can still be controlled, because we can control how we respond to them! We can choose to respond in such a way that we’re a better person because of those difficult circumstances. It’s fair to say that most of our character development (our growing in Christ-likeness) does not happen under ideal circumstances but under less than ideal circumstances.
As a pastor it was not the parishioners with whom I found it easy to get along who helped me grow the most spiritually but those whom I was tempted to pray a curse upon (but by God’s grace didn’t). I’ve also found greater motivation to put my trust in God when I’ve lacked something rather than when I haven’t lacked something. Then too, I’ve grown in patience more when things are slow in coming than when there’s been no delay. I could go on, but you get the idea.
It’s only natural, and even right, to prefer better circumstances than worse circumstances. So it’s good to rejoice and give thanks for the good circumstances. But the reality is that we also face far from ideal circumstances. If God has allowed us to be in such circumstances, then He has a plan. His plan is that with His help and in one way or another we’re to bloom where we’ve been planted!
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.'” Jeremiah 29:4-5