Two months after the rest of my shasta daisies had ceased blooming, almost overnight a lone daisy poked up its cheerful head. What led it to bloom as the days got colder and shorter? The blooming season for flowers in this part of Southern Ontario is ending. The hostas are wilting. Even the petunias look the worse for wear. The fall mums have lost their sunny sparkle. We’ve had a frost and a week of rain without much sun. And still my solitary daisy blooms!
This single daisy reminds me of people who bloom in difficult circumstances. Most of us can rise to our potential when we have a good job, reasonable health, supportive friends, and regular sleep. When everything is sunshine and roses we can smile and whistle a happy tune. But that’s not so easy when cancer strikes, or gossip destroys our reputation, or the Taliban besiege our town, or we face an impossible task.
There’s the cheerful woman in her late 90’s who still comes to prayer meeting, cracks jokes and loves to spread a ray of sunshine around her retirement home.
There’s Diana, beaten, molested and told she was stupid and worthless who after kicking her addiction to drugs cajoled government to help her develop successful businesses for ex-psychiatric patients.
I’m reminded of Thomas Edison who kept on experimenting through hundreds of failures until he perfected a light bulb.
I think of children who remain hopeful even while going through chemo-therapy and worse.
Consider the survivors of the Muslim attack on the Northern Nigerian town of Yelwa that killed 75 in their burning church building. Despite threats the surviving Christians boldly rebuild their church.
What about the young woman fighting against the tide of despair to rescue Ebola orphans in West Africa?
Then there is Malala, shot and almost killed by a Taliban a sympathizer just because she stood up for the right of girls to be educated. Undeterred she continues to agitate world-wide for universal education. A worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I think of the retired pastor who earns enough during the year to travel half-way around the world so he can encourage persecuted Christians and train pastors.
What of the scores of Chinese, Ethiopians, Koreans, and westerners who ignoring warnings about Muslim terrorism go to spend and be spent in dangerous parts of the world. Against all rational odds, SIM has more missionaries from more countries now in the challenging mission field of Pakistan than it did when things were much easier.
Second Timothy 4:2 exhorts preachers and teachers to, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” Clearly, we need teaching about God’s grace in Christ when things are going well lest we become complacent; and when we plunge into difficulties lest we be discouraged.
Whether we are preachers or not, we should all aspire to bloom in every season by displaying the godly characteristics of love, patience, kindness, joy, peace, gentleness, faith, and goodness. Indeed, Lord, help me to bloom like that daisy even during dark and cold days.