The tree boasted in its full blooms, having crossed over from white buds to pink blossoms. Standing tall and proud against the Carolina blue sky, it let the world know it was moving from winter to spring. No more waiting. The time was the present.
The tree had the support of its neighboring flowers and shrubs. They all seemed ready to put winter to death and host new life. Sights and sounds of spring abounded.
The only problem was the fact that it was the first few days of February in the South. It could be 70 one day and 35 the next. A week of warm could easily precede two weeks of winter temperatures.
As I drove by one of my favorite trees last year, as we prepared to move from the South to the Midwest, I commented to the boys, “The tree is confused by the cues its receiving from the weather. It thinks the time to bloom is now. The tree is putting itself in danger because it’s blooming out of season.”
“Early blooming can be extremely stressful for trees, especially if temperatures are mild one day then plunge the next. When this happens, new growth is shocked by the sudden freeze and could be damaged.
Fruit and flower buds are especially vulnerable. If they’re hit by cold temperatures after flowering, they may not be able to bloom again later in the year because they’ve already exerted their energy.” What Happens If Trees Bud Too Early
The South is notorious for displaying trees and flowers that bloom before their time. At heart I’m a Southerner. I can relate. Settling into my seasons is hard for me at times. Especially when everywhere I look it seems everyone else seems to have moved on to bigger and better.
It takes patience and trust to wait for spring to arrive in our lives. We spend the winter waiting to bust out. At the first hints of spring, we throw open the doors and windows and let the world know we are ready.
Yet there is fruit grown in the winter of our souls if we allow the proper resting period. The fruit of patience grows in the harsh conditions of winter. As patience grows we grow closer to the Lord. We patiently listen for His voice to guide our growth. When the world around us births new life, if we wait on His Voice rather than the cues of the world around us, lasting growth and strength will be the reward.
“Every year, trees maintain a set growth cycle, and they rely on the weather to keep them on track. Certain trees need to rest in cool temperatures before they can safely produce new growth in spring.
When the dormant season is interrupted by unseasonal elements, trees begin to grow as though spring has arrived. They start sprouting leaves, flowers and fruits–no matter how short the resting period was.” What Happens If Trees Bud Too Early
Waiting isn’t easy. Waiting in winter can be painful. Yet the winter seasons of our lives provide the rest we need to bloom and thrive when our season truly arrives.
Too many of us fight to bloom before it’s our time. We are restless and itching for more.
Last week I read an article published on Focus on the Family that ministered to me in such a timely way- Sandra Stanley: Why I Said No. Reading this article came as I prayed asking God for direction in a world that speaks so loudly I find it hard to hear anything, especially His still, small voice.
The Lord brought to mind my favorite tree, beautiful for the world to see far too early to last.
In a world where we see every big thing our friends do, may we choose to celebrate the small moments we were made for. Deep soul satisfaction comes in living a quiet life, poured out at the feet of the cross. His “well done, my good and faithful servant” is the treasure we seek. May we exchange the instant gratification of the admiration of the world for the quiet whispers of our Father.
Let us choose a thriving life over a quick bloom. It won’t match the worlds around us. It won’t compete with the achievements of those in our circles of influence. But it wasn’t meant to. We were created for His good pleasure. Let Him do what He will.
“The righteous thrive like a palm tree
and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
they thrive in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
healthy and green,
to declare: “The Lord is just;
He is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”’