The desert where we live is barren, dry, and harsh, to be sure. Sometimes it feels as if we are fighting the very soul of the land to eke out our little homestead. But it has moments of startling beauty.
On a late evening walk yesterday, we found that tiny flower growing right smack in the middle of a bare stretch of a seldom-used gravel driveway. The impossibility of it struck me. Here is a fragile little piece of life, totally exposed to the harsh heat of the day, the blasting winds, driving sheets of dust, surrounded on all sides by shriveling dryness. It is never shaded, never watered or protected. The sun reflects off the white gravel like a mirror. It’s hard to look at.
But that little orange blossom keeps bravely facing up to the elements each morning, like a tiny fire keeping the severity of the desert at bay.
I realized that I could learn something from that flower. The seed had no choice about where it landed, no say in the place it had to grow. But it doesn’t sit and sulk because it could have picked a better spot. It grows.
Day after day it is hammered by every kind of handicap. Yet…it grows. It doesn’t curl up and die just because things get tough.
Out on a lonely stretch of back road, there is no one to see its tiny gem of beauty. It doesn’t wither away sadly, feeling overlooked and abandoned. It keeps its face turned toward its Creator, Who sees it and loves it.
It just keeps quietly growing, right in the middle of a virtual moonscape, even though it may not understand why it has to be there.
The picture of that little flower, no bigger than a grain of sand in the world’s scheme, still keeping its little orange flame of beauty alight, is going to have the place of honor on my mirror from now on. Without words, it reminds me to accept where I am, even though I may not understand why God has brought me here. When a storm hits me broadside without warning, from a direction I never expected, I am tempted to give up and quit. I will be the first to raise my hand and say yes, I do grow weary of doing good.
The raw pain of recent rejection by two beloved friends has offered us a tiny taste of the emotion behind those heartbreaking words of Jesus, “He who shared my bread has lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). When efforts at reconciliation are met over and over with condemnation, I don’t want to keep trying.
But hope comes in that old thought: “Forgiveness doesn’t make them right, it makes you free.” The only responsibility I have is toward God – to honor Him by continuing to move forward even when I can’t see where the path is leading. Even when all Paul and I can see is a dry, barren wasteland of loneliness and betrayal, He sees what is beyond, and He will bring us through.
We continue to pray for reconciliation of the broken relationship. Perhaps the rift will be healed, or perhaps we have reached the end of a chapter in our lives. I cannot see God’s plan; I can only trust Him. And when I truly take those words into my heart, it brings peace.
Peace that He holds us in His hand.
Peace that the harder the wind screams and the storm beats at us, it will only strengthen the ties between Paul and myself; it will only bring us closer together.
Peace that we can love and be loved, live, and bring beauty to the place where we are, even if it is only a gravel road in the middle of nowhere.
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Mulan