Over the years, I have collected a handful of orchids at my house. Some were gifts, some I purchased just for me, and some I rescued from the clearance rack at my local garden store. I love them for their variety, individualism, colors, and longevity. Through the years, they have all re-bloomed, died back, and done their little orchid cycle in their own time. Honestly, I haven't kept up with when they bloom; I just know that they do, individually, once a year. I have, over time, purchased enough of them that I can rotate the blooming ones to the kitchen and hide the dormant ones elsewhere. My sister is a bit of an orchid-whisperer, and each time I visit her, she always has one blooming. She also has an 'orchid hospital' where she is babying the ones that aren't blooming. I guess that's where I got the 'rotate to the kitchen' idea. I digress.
A few months back, I noticed tiny buds on each of them. All four of them. And for the first time ever, for whatever reason, they are all blooming at the exact same time. It doesn't really make sense since they are all different ages and never bloom at the same time year after year.
The Lord knows that he's got my attention in nature. Of course, everyone is different, but that is where I am guaranteed to hear the Lord speak to me if I pause long enough to listen. So - it would not be beyond him to reorganize the normal blooming cycle of these flowers to teach me something. (That alone makes me shake my head in wonder at his power and Lord-over-all as Creator).
And can you imagine what those four orchids are "thinking"? (Please humor me here—I know they don't— but if they did—I could so easily see this little scene play out.) There they are, sitting on the counter, side by side, and they look at each other and say, "Hey did you see that? The Creator just told me to bloom. Yeah, now. I know it's not time, so it must be for a great reason. Did he tell you, too? No way. Ok - this is so cool. I wonder what He's up to?! Let's do our best to bloom with all our might so he'll be proud of us. Yeah - extra bright colors - that's what I'm thinking too. Can you pull off extra glossy leaves? Ok - super. I'm going to try to stand extra tall for the most impact. Do you have any idea how much Tara is going to love this?! I cannot believe He chose us to be a part of what He wants to teach her! This is so exciting! I've waited all my life for Him to use me like this!!"
And so they bloomed. With all their might. To honor Him with every bit of what they were created to do.
I don't have any logical explanation for it other than the Lord working to get my attention. So I'm pausing to listen. There's a chance that they might all be blooming at the same time this year - because I need them to. I need the visual reminder right there in my kitchen and the pause it creates right here in my kitchen.
I need to be reminded that the Lord alone is in control, not me. I need this constant reminder of what resilient life looks like; pushing through dirt against all odds and when timing doesn't make sense.
Regardless of why they are all blooming at the same time, I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the big blooms, tiny blooms, yellow, purple, and green with pink dots. All of it is for me, and I receive the mystery at a time when my heart needs them to be blooming well.
Sometimes we don't know what we need until it arrives.
I'm also well aware that because of this synchronized yet random blooming cycle—unless the Lord intervenes again—that means there will be at least a year with no blooms at all.
No orchids to rotate.
No tropical flowers with their scentless, silent exclamation of God's goodness doing their thing in my kitchen.
Yes, I can buy another orchid, but that's not the point. The point is sometimes, that's how it works. Sometimes the Lord shows up in crazy ways, and we see him do the miraculous, and we shake our heads and blink our eyes to help our minds grasp it all. We are grateful, and he teaches us a personal lesson, and sometimes it's one we didn't know we needed until it arrived.
And then, sometimes, nothing happens.
Sometimes we go a long time without a moment like that. It seems heaven has stopped communicating, and we're left wondering why we're in a holding pattern for new growth.
And we have to wait it out. In those seasons, that's where the faith we've developed in the first season has to be applied.
The shake-your-head-in-amazement season is the storehouse for the where-are-you-now season. And the season that feels like famine gives you a greater appreciation for the coming revival of plenty.
Thankfully, because God is who he is, seasons in our life mirror seasons in the natural world and are cyclical. We're either in one, coming through one, or going into one.
So whether you're in a season where everything is blooming at the same time, or if you're in a season where there are no blooms at all, know that both are there to develop in you an appreciation for the next season, and both are there to point you to the one who wants to teach you in each of them. He loves you so much. Don't ever forget it.
"Let's recognize him as the Lord. Let's keep trying to know him. You can be sure the sun will rise. And you can be just as sure the Lord will appear. He will come to renew us like the winter rains. He will be like the spring rains that water the earth." - Hosea 6:2-4