Saturday, July 10, 2004

How Much More for Us

Yesterday in between all my projects and family responsibilities, I was privileged to watch the almost-birth of a rose. I noticed early in the morning that the bud was beginning to open; I got my digital camera and captured images every half hour to see how quickly--or slowly--the transformation would occur. In the first two hours, the growth was amazing--the bud completely spread its lowest petals and I thought the whole flower was just going to burst open any minute. But about 10:30, the progress seemed to stall. I faithfully continued taking pictures for the next several hours, but nothing was happening. A wave of impatience--and discouragement--swept over me. What was the rose waiting for?

By midafternoon, I realized that the rose was done for the day. It had come so far, and then--nothing. I knew the rose would open eventually, but I was surprised that the growth wasn't steady and consistent. I had thought a rose would open a certain amount per hour, at a certain rate, in a certain way. But as I thought about it, I realized my own growth isn't consistent and steady--it happens in leaps and baby steps, it zigzags back and forth across dimensions, it loops back and skips and stumbles and finally drags itself forward another step, and then another, and then another. Growth in my life is often messy. Could it be that uneven growth--including cycles of effort and rest--is part of the natural cycle of creation? Even our own?

I resolved to let the rose be ("Maybe a watched rose never blooms," I thought), and I put away my camera. I had made my peace with the fact that the rose would bloom in its own time--and not according to my schedule.

This morning, bright and early, I went out to check the rose, expecting it to be in the same condition. Instead, I found an adult rose, huge and gorgeous and proud--full open, as though it had been there for days. I did a double-take, at first thinking it might not be the same rose. But it was.

I joyfully grabbed my camera and took a picture, thinking, "If God can do such amazing things with the blossom of a single rose, how much more can he do for us?"

May we each feel the transformation God is working in us today--seen or unseen--in the stubborn, unswerving hope that we are even now blossoming into a magnificent likeness of divine love.

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