I took a picture this morning of the aged Rhododendron bush at the back of our campsite.
A week ago, when we set up camp, these blooms were not yet open. The bush was full of ivory buds with no hint of the delicious color you see here. I watched them day by day and hoped they would bloom out before we had to break camp. And here they are, opening their petals to the morning sun, beckoning to the birds and bees.
We arrived home a few moments ago, and I’m here with you while my dear husband unloads the truck. Last Sunday, we celebrated our resurrected Lord, shared a meal with family and headed to the mountain. We were able to get the tent, cabana, and cooking area all set and a fire going in the pit before the rain came, and we danced a jig of victory to be able to sleep in a dry tent. It rained, hard, for eighteen hours. Then came the wind and the cold and two of our best friends, who parked their RV in the site next to us.
As I recall my initial desire to have some time alone and my hope that there would be some moments of quietude to commune with God, I have to smile. God’s careful ordering of my days is sometimes a surprise to me. We had our friends in the RV with us from Monday to Friday. On Tuesday afternoon one of our sons and a grandson came for the night and two more friends came for dinner. On Wednesday we took our son and grandson to an outdoor museum depicting life in the Appalachian Mountains. On Friday, my niece and her family came up for the day. The children (ages 6 to 9) had a grand time running and playing and roasting marshmallows after dinner. All in all, it was a glorious time of fellowship, full of laughter, games, rich conversation, prayer, and really good campfire cooking.
These relationships are priority for us, and it made our hearts glad that they were willing to expend energy and resources to come and be with us. And God knew better than we did that this communion with other saints, both young and old, would refresh our souls and encourage our hearts. He is a good Father.
Friday night, after everyone had gone, I lay listening to the noise of all the other families and groups in the campground. It seemed they were all greedily lapping up the final moments before having to pack up and set off for home on the morrow. I was suddenly awed to remember that I am one of billions. And even more awed and filled with wonder that God knows the name of every single one of us. My little world of friends and family and co-workers and strangers is but one galaxy of a myriad galaxies.
Jesus is Lord of all. He is the King of all our galaxies. How great and mighty He is! Still, He came to be with us. And when He left, He sent the Holy Spirit to stay with us. The Spirit of God now guides me. He helps me to pray. He gives me strength and peace and reveals the truth of God to me. As a believer and a child of God, I have been made new in my inner most being. I am a new creation, a new kind of human, fit for the Kingdom of God. Like the blooming Rhododendron, full of beauty and sustenance, I am a planting of the Lord, set in His vineyard for His glory and good pleasure.
What do I do with this deepening conviction of belonging to Him? How do I live in light of His mercy and grace? Simply, giving everything to Him who holds the world and worlds in His hands. I must be willing to process all my moments in the knowledge of His presence and in the safety of His arms. I must obey His voice and lean into His love. And I must give Him the glory, honor and thanks due Him for the things He has done.
Thank you, Lord, for your kind intention and for your gracious way. Lead me in paths of righteousness and restore my soul, for Your name’s sake. I ask that You reveal truth to me, so that I may walk humbly and obediently in it. Yours is the Kingdom, both now and forever. Glory to God in the highest! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Until next week, beloved, bloom where you are planted and give glory to your maker.