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Photo by Meric Dagli on Unsplash

Photo by Meric Dagli on Unsplash

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

Have you ever fought with God regarding the place where he has planted you?

Have you ever looked over at another garden and watched another flower beautifully growing, robust and fragrant, and wondered, “Why couldn’t God plant me there? Why has he planted me here?”

Have you ever argued with God? “I could be a much more beautiful flower if you planted me someplace else? Is it really necessary for you to plant me here?”

As much as I hate to admit it, I have asked all of these questions, wrestled my way to exhaustion over the why’s, and compared my garden to that of many others. I have discounted the place of my planting because I couldn’t see the bloom yet to come.

What we don’t see behind every flower, every blossom, every fruitful display of God’s wonder, is the winter that preceded it.

We can’t bloom without the winter.

Seasons are critical to the health of the produce. There is a season for planting, growing, harvesting, and preparing. So often we compare our spindly stems in the early stages of growth to the fullness and richness of a flower ready to be plucked. And sometimes, due to the nature of the fruit we will one day produce, our season of preparation may take longer, which means it may take quite some time before we see a bud appear.

Seasons are cyclical, and sometimes we need to let go of the produce from a plentiful harvest and allow the winter to prepare us for a new planting.

A good winter is necessary for a good harvest.

Winter is quiet and bare, sometimes lonely and unseen. Winter may bring disappointments and challenges. And it can certainly open us up to the trap of comparison. The question begins to form in our hearts, “Why plant me here?” Here seems to be the enemy of our souls. But here is a place where every blossom begins.

We can’t bloom without the winter.

Spring, summer, and early fall allow the soil to absorb heat and moisture. This will sustain the ground for the winter to come. As the ground begins to get colder and colder, and as each layer of soil begins to freeze, under the surface life is buzzing and whirling. There are microbes, bacteria, fungi, and other organisms that continue to live and thrive all winter long, producing nutrients necessary for the spring. While all may look dead on the surface, life is still stirring deep below.

And those plants that have deep roots, that reach beyond each layer of frozen ground, will survive the harshest of winters as they continue to be nourished by nutrient rich soil.

Deep roots and patience. Without these we may not see another bloom.

Winter appears barren, but the roots that dive deeply into God’s presence, God’s Word, and God’s soil will survive and one day bloom beautifully. Soil that is teeming with life and hope and truth and grace is soil that will feed those roots and bring life back into the garden.

The key to blooming in the spring is abiding through the winter. We can not produce a harvest if we have not abided in the winter.

When you look over at another’s garden, and if you see beautiful blossoms and fruitful branches, just know they didn’t get there without a winter.

And when you look at yourself and wonder when your moment to bloom will come, reach those roots deep into the winter soil, beyond the frozen ground, and abide in the soil of God’s presence. Your beautiful garden will come, but not before your winter. Have patience. Let God do his work in you.

God planted you here because here needs you. The garden is coming, the buds are forming, and the beauty of the bloom will reflect the beauty of the gardener who planted you here.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9

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