Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dogwood Buds and Winter Woes

It just didn’t seem fair. The little tree is only a few years old, and finally big enough to set blooms for the coming spring, then the weather turns cold. If this winter is anything like the last couple of winters, it could be brutally cold. Well, brutally cold for Alabama could mean temperatures below zero for a few days, and a snow here and there. Feels brutal to us.   

We have a love of dogwoods; pink, white, wild and naturalized - they seem to epitomize spring. The timing is such that their blooms usually coincide with Easter. With their blooms in the shape of a cross, and the tip of each petal seeming to bear the hole of a nail, and the rusty blood stains of the One who bore them, even a golden crown in the center, this tree speaks of sacrifice, and resurrection. They give their own quiet testimony with spectacular beauty.

The blooms also produce marvelous bright red seeds for the next generation of dogwoods…and the cardinals. It is a beautiful sight when everything seems grey and lifeless to have these brightly adorned feathered friends arrive for their annual snacks. To reward me for the tasty seeds, they help with the planting and distribution process, thus I have dogwood seedlings to share nearly every year. It is a nice arrangement; a recurring contract we have with them.

This is one of those seedlings I gingerly transplanted a few years ago into a lush and heavily mulched flower bed.  It is now about as tall as I am. This is the very first time is has set blooms and frost is near.  So, I worry. Will the cold burn the bloomers off before they even have a chance to bloom? I should know better. This is the way they are designed, set buds in the fall, bloom in the spring. God has made provision for them to endure the winter BEFORE they bloom.

He does that with us too. He plants us, cares for us, gives us a job and the ability to endure through whatever it takes to perform that job. He might even allow us to go through a hard time before we can perform our job. It might help us build roots before we bloom, look to Him, be filled with Him, knowing He will provide whatever we need to endure and bloom at the right time. He is good like that.

I thought about having a little talk with them, to let them know they would be OK, that they had a wonderful surprise coming after the winter, and God would most certainly take good care of them until then. Somehow, they seemed to already know. They stand in our little garden, without a single complaint or worry, waiting patiently, silently, knowing God will take care of them and being prepared to testify to the world about His tremendous work that changed everything! I realized they are tougher than they look. You and I are too – when we rely on Him.

Thank You dearest heavenly Father for such beauty in Your Creation. Thank You for giving us such wonderful examples of Your provision, even when the hard times come. Thank You for promises of springtime blooms that speak of what You have done and what You ask us to do. Help us to look to You and hold on to You so that we will be able to bloom at the proper time, glorify our Creator, and leave seeds for those to come!