It was an unusually sunny November day, and I was cleaning out the garden boxes and tidying up some areas when I noticed this strawberry plant blooming. Because of the season I was in personally my immediate thoughts were Girlfriend (because who doesn’t talk to their plants in the garden?) what are you doing blooming this time of year? Can’t you see your buddy right there beside you with frostbite?
I see you little strawberry flower. While I appreciate your effort, this is not the season for you. Winter is coming.
Have you ever asked yourself, what was I thinking? Or perhaps you got in the thick of it and simply knew this was the wrong time to be doing what you’re trying to do. You have the right motive but it’s the wrong season.
That’s where I found myself that day, in the middle of the garden, talking to a strawberry plant.
Because God uses the simplicity of nature to teach us deeper lessons, here’s some he taught me during that season.
Open Doors and Warning Signs
I don’t have to nor should I walk through every door opened for me or say yes to every opportunity presented. I had waited for a long time for this gate to swing wide and because of that, I ignored the warning signs, the quickening in my Spirit, and forged ahead with a Finally! attitude.
I was like that strawberry bloom who trusted the rare sunshine on a November day but ignored the freeze warnings from the rest of the month. Ignored the dead leaves and fellow strawberry turned brown from cold temps.
Surely, I can bear fruit in the off season, in a toxic environment, with all these warnings. It’s what I thought I was meant to do…even though winter was coming.
Plans fail with no counsel, but with many counselors they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22CEB)
I didn’t seek wise counsel.
Maybe it was because I was so sure this open door of opportunity was right for me because I wanted it for so long that I (arrogantly) didn’t feel I needed to ask anyone about it.
Or maybe it was because I knew they would point out the freeze warnings and tell me to shut the door. Was this something I had put on such a pedestal, blizzard be damned, I’m moving forward? Be careful what you idolize.
Seek counsel from someone who needs nothing from you but wants the best for you. Be thankful for open doors of opportunities but don’t ignore the warning signs or the wisdom of another.
Waiting is Frustrating
And tiring. And discouraging. Anybody?
You’ve prayed and waited. You’ve encouraged others and waited. You’ve watched others move forward and waited. You feel the weight of the wait and don’t know how much longer you can manage the load of it all.
Sarah got tired of waiting and moved ahead of God. After decades of waiting for a child of her own, who can blame her really, what a mess it all became! She told her husband to sleep with her maid so her maid could get pregnant because God told them she, Sarah, would have a child so maybe this was the way because God certainly wasn’t doing anything….not fast anyhow.
Esther understood the importance of waiting. After seeking wise counsel from her cousin Modecai, she fasted and prayed (now there’s a concept Kim) and devised a plan. She carried out said plan with patience and trusted the timing. As a result, God’s chosen people and Esther’s lineage was saved from decimation.
Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act. (Psalms 37:7 NLT)
Whenever I want to help God out, stop praying and start doing or get tired of waiting, it’s because I want to control the situation, I want to call the shots, send in the signals for the next play and control the clock. Instead, I need to be still. With the Lord. And not just wait but wait patiently. Sigh.
I can trust God because he is trustworthy. He is for me (and you) like no one else is. He has a view of my situation (and yours) from an angle we never will. He is all knowing, all powerful, ever present. He is a Father who loves me (and you) like no one is able to love us. He wants what’s best for us and we can trust him to open doors we are to walk through and warn us of open doors we are to shut. We need only pay attention.
We can trust:
God’s plan for us. He has one. And it’s good because he is good!
God’s timing for us. There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1NIV)
God’s ability to do what he says he will do. With his plan, not ours. In his time, not ours.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:3NIV)
It took a strawberry bloom to show me that even though my motive was right, the season was wrong. She taught me to trust the warning signs and not just the whims of a sunny day. She taught me that though she got frost bit, she’s still meant to bloom. In the right season, she will bear fruit.