Under the Right Conditions

I have thoroughly enjoyed the flowers in our yard this year. My second mom gifted me some eight o’clocks a few years ago. They are the most beautiful and amazing flowers. They bloom at night and their name gives you a clue as to what time the show begins. So for several weeks after it began to get dark, around 8:40-8:45pm, we’d watch as the bud would shake, not intensely but slight enough to catch one’s attention before the unfolding would commence. Sometimes it would seem as though we’d wait for a long time, and that nothing would happen. Then suddenly, the shaking would begin and then popped out beauty. As the summer hastened, the flowers subliminally displayed a “see you next year” sign. Two weeks ago, I was reminded that I’d taken video of the phenomenon that I could enjoy until next summer if the Lord allows. There was no longer a desire nor perceivable need to go outside in the evening to watch what was departed.

A couple of mornings ago, it was unseasonably cool. My mother and I stepped outside to find that a couple of eight o’clocks were on display, and had obviously appeared during the night. I was stunned! The next morning, there were more. What appeared to be done, over, kaput, was now evolved, unexpected and operational. I captured the image with the camera on my phone, pictured in this blog. I noticed that all around the flowers, it was brown, dry and no appearance of life – yet here were the flowers, unbothered by its surroundings, quite alive under the right conditions.

Have you ever found yourself ready to bloom and yet nothing happens? While watching the eight o’clocks, it appeared that some would open before others. The outside sleeve so to speak was plump, the shaking would be apparent, when all of a sudden, one that we’d not given any attention or notice, shows itself first. Other times, we’d wait for up to 20 minutes looking at a few, and would end up going in the house, only to return to find it open and seemingly dancing with the moon.

I’m told that my grandmother would say, “Time is not long as it has been.” When I first heard that colloquialism, I added it to the “Later Never Came Until Now” file. Yet, as I’ve matured, I’ve realized that in essence, it mirrors Habakkuk 2:3: “For the revelation pertains to an appointed time— it speaks truthfully about the end. Though it delays, wait for it, because it will surely come about— it will not be late!” We mustn’t remain discouraged when situations, circumstances and even people don’t unfold as we’d hoped, or better still, as God has instructed to us through the Holy Spirit. As my Bishop has said often, a delay is not a denial. We must condition ourselves to the notion that under the right conditions, “it,” whatever “it” is for you will come forth! God is the determinator of right. However, we must be sure that our right aligns with God’s in that, we need not ask, hope or wait on that which is not. Philippians 4:8 affirms: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about these things.” In other words, don’t stand outside waiting for something to happen that does not mirror the Word of God! Sure, it can happen, but I know from experience that it won’t bless you, and prompt you to be excited for it to the same extent as when you know beyond a shadow of doubt that the hands of the Master are all over it and you!

With the naked eye, I assumed that there was nothing left to bloom. It was as though the season passed. However, I am not the author of the right conditions! I could attribute the return of the eight o’clocks to the coolness, or just accept the notion that God elected to teach me a lesson; that it’s not over until He says it is. Or that sometimes the process to get to the beauty that others witness is only to be seen by Him. Perhaps He desired to demonstrate that whatever appears to be “out of season” can actually occur orchestrated by Him. Still, it could be another reason altogether unbeknownst to me in this moment. Whatever the case, I am encouraged to be grateful for the “shaking,” those disruptive measures experienced to get us to our desired state. I am affirmed that what God is working in us isn’t required to be known or necessarily known or interpreted by others. I am at peace knowing that just when you think its over, God sends a gentle reminder to demonstrate that it’s not, and that under the right conditions, there remains beauty. There remains life. There remains hope. There remains God.

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