A few weeks ago, this plant was nothing more than a dead, dry stick. It looked like it had been stuck in a pot with a few scraggy leaves, waiting to be thrown in the compost.
But Muriel knew better. She had seen these dead, dry sticks before, and knew that they had a name – orchids.
After months of nothing happening, suddenly buds began to appear. Then in no time at all, beautiful flowers sprouted from this ‘dead stick’, and we discovered it wasn’t so dead after all.
We have several orchids in the house, and they are all different. Each one appears to be quite unique, and the delicate designs of the blossoms are quite amazing.
Sometimes we can identify more with that ‘dead stick’ than with the beautiful blossom. We feel worn out, bereft of ideas, energy, even hope. Sometimes the pressures of life can make us feel quite useless, especially if we can’t seem to get on top of the habits we’ve wrestled with for years. We know there’s a better way to live, but it just seems beyond us. Paul understands this. He writes to the Ephesians: ‘once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world…… All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.’ (Eph 2:1-3 NLT)
There may be times when we feel Paul’s description is only too accurate. That we are dominated by our old ways, living in our own unique kind of disobedience to God, so there’s no hope.
But it’s not true. From God’s perspective we are ‘a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession…… he called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ (1 Pet 2:9NLT) And whether we feel it or not ‘we are being transformed into his likeness, with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord. (2 Cor 3:18)
When the orchid is in ‘dead, dry stick’ mode, it is still an orchid! When we are feeling low, lifeless, incompetent etc, etc, we are still children of God! And God doesn’t make mistakes. Ephesians again: we are God’s masterpiece (Wow!). He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago’ (Eph 2:10NLT)
You do have to wait a while for the orchid to blossom, that’s true. And sometimes we have to wait for God’s blessing to unfold in our lives. But it’s coming! And then it’s time to blossom!