Jeremiah 39:1 - Jeremiah 44:23
Do you have a favorite?
My mother will tell you that I have a lot of favorites. Every song is my favorite song, every holiday is my favorite holiday, every scripture is my favorite scripture. I am that kind of person. I really, really love a lot of things.
But some things really are my most favorite.
For example, vanilla is my most favorite ice cream. And English Lops are my most favorite breed of rabbit. And yellow has always been my most favorite color.
And I have a favorite flower. One I love over and above any other flower.
I have planted this flower in several places in my yard, simply because I love it so much.
But it only blooms once a year.
And the blooms only last for a short time.
My husband will tell you it is one of my most favorite times of the year.
Springtime finds me out watching the progress of the plants daily. From the moment the first hint of green escapes from brown dirt until heavy buds hang on spindly stems, the anticipation begins filling my heart. Towards the end, Greg and I watch the progress daily waiting for the delicate petals to burst from the tight round balls that contain them.
Then I carefully cut the stems so I can bring the blossoms into my home. I have a special crystal cut-glass vase that was my grandmother's. It is reserved specifically for these, my most favorite, flowers. I only use it this one time a year.
The flowers will travel room to room with me for as long as they are blooming over the next several weeks. When I am cooking, they are in the kitchen windowsill. When I am writing, they are there next to me on the desk. And every evening I carry them into my bedroom and set them carefully on my nightstand next to my bed. When I breathe deep the soft, sweet fragrance fills me up all the way into the depths of my heart.
If you were to ask me why I love these flowers so much I think this would be my reply...they keep back nothing. Spring brings with it the promise of their coming. Their soft, sweet petals bursting from seemingly unyielding constraints never ceases to delight me. And their fragrance can fill an entire room with a penetrating softness that somehow reaches right into my heart.
Perhaps it is because these flowers are so hard to come by.
Maybe it's the fact that they can't be purchased from the corner grocery store.
Could it be the waiting that makes me love the flowers so much?
Because every year it is the same.
My heart waits for Springtime and the promise that the peonies will bloom again.
I wonder if the same can be said about the promises of the Lord. The tender mercy moments that come after the waiting, from seemingly unyielding constraints. The penetrating one on one moments with the Lord that somehow reach right down into the depths of our heart.
Jeremiah speaks of a moment like this.
After the people have pled to know what the Lord would have them do. In the moment of confinement, before the blessings.
There, within the waiting, Jeremiah the Prophet replied, "I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the Lord your God according to your words: and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you." (Jeremiah 41:4)
I will keep nothing back.
"And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel...If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you...and I will plant you...Be not afraid...for I am with you to save you...and I will shew mercies unto you." (Jeremiah 41:11-12 emphasis added)
If ye will still abide.
"I will perform that good thing which I have promised." (Jeremiah 33:14)
I am reminded of the peonies that will abide with me in every room, wherever I go these next few weeks.
So it is with the Lord.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
There will be moments of waiting. There will be times when all that we hope for seems bound by unyielding constraints. Sometimes it may feel as if the blessings are few and far between.
But ours is a Lord of tender mercies.
He will perform that good thing which He has promised.
He will keep nothing back.
For this moment, still abide.