©Joy Dunlap https://joydunlap.com
Could that really be a single white flower growing amidst the trees in our backyard? Sitting on our small back deck a few days ago, I wondered if what I saw was real.
My husband, Charlie, went out to check.
“Come see,” he shouted, “there are lots of blossoms.”
I rushed out to see what I couldn’t fully view from my vantage point. Splendorous with blooms, the bush caused me to gasp in awe.
“I thought it was dead,” I said, stunned. Even as brittle branches jutted out from two bushes by its side, flourishing white azaleas adorned the one shrub. Beside it, on an otherwise barren bush, was the sole flower that caught our attention and pulled us in closer.
Life where I didn’t expect it. Beauty emerging from God’s hand.
“Look how it bent towards the sun to grow,” said my husband. Sure enough, surrounded by shade trees, the flowers stretched high and leaned into the one section of sunlight streaming through. That angle kept us from seeing it – until I spotted the one, bright white blossom among the landscape of brown tree trunks adorned with leafy green.
Imagine a startled Mary Magdalene as she discovers the burial tomb that held Jesus empty and open, its heavy stone moved away. Immediately she assumes someone must have stolen His body. That was the only logical – human – explanation for the empty tomb.
She races to tell two disciples, Peter and presumably John, and they run for the tomb finding only strips of cloth that had wrapped Jesus in burial after His crucifixion.
The disciples leave the area, but Mary stays behind weeping as she mourns the absence of Jesus. She sees someone, but doesn’t recognize him right away.
Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?*
Distraught and upset, she assumes the speaker is the gardener. (Many reasons for her lack of recognition, but think about it, if we’d just buried a loved one, we wouldn’t expect to see them alive either.)
Then…Jesus calls her by name. Suddenly, she recognizes Him and joyously responds!
Racing to the disciples, she cries out, “I have seen the Lord.”
In a season of uncertainty and anxiety, you too may have felt as if Jesus is absent. Have you wondered where God is? Perhaps you’re thinking He isn’t where you expect He should be, or doing what you want Him to do when you want Him to do it?
Who is it you are looking for?
Are we seeking the One who can give us unimaginable joy even in the midst of difficult and disruptive circumstances?
Or are we looking for a genie to respond with what we wish or demand? Someone to make our lives easy and comfortable?
Are we seeking real answers or do we just enjoy the questions and debates so much that we’re not hearing God’s response?
Do we yearn to be free of guilt and shame and sorrow over actions we’ve taken in the past, or even those we’ve failed to take?
Are we hoping to find the One who gives us peace not only in good times, but also in days of difficulty, anxiety and worry?
In order to know who we’re looking for, it is good to know what we are currently seeking.
What have we been trying to attain?
- More possessions?
- Hoarded wealth?
- Perfect family?
Hidden behind the world’s push towards prideful advancement is what we really need to find.
Is it those we focus on in our search for fulfillment? Do we truly desire to discover them?
Who is it you are looking for?
Jesus longs to be recognized and trusted as the One who can fulfill those deeper yearnings of our hearts and souls.
He desires to comfort you, protect you, forgive you, restore you, and to let you fully understand how deeply He loves you.
If you feel sorrowful, shameful or separated from Him today, He sees you. Feeling anxious, distraught, or lonely? He knows.
Seek Him. Reach out for Him. Listen as He speaks to you.
Rejoice as you discover and delight in His presence.
“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Acts 2:28 NIV
- What have you unexpectedly discovered that gave you joy?
- Have you ever found a flower growing in an unusual place?
- Who or what are you truly looking for in life?
- Are you close enough to Jesus to miss Him when you choose not to walk daily with Him?
- Do you trust that Jesus is Savior and Lord? Are you resting in knowing He is Risen?
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV
*John 20:15 NIV
Remember…Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™