Mark 4:31-32 – It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. (KJV)
One of my plants is a rosebush planted in memory of a friend. Every summer it brings forth the most beautiful dusty rose flowers emitting their sweet subtle scent. For the last couple of years, when all the others have finished for the fall, it has yielded yet one last burst of blooms.
This year, the bud is there, a slit of colour is coming through, but the bud is being slow to bloom. I've begun paying a little more attention to it. I water it, talk to it, touch it, hold it in my hand to kind of coax it along. It will bloom if and when it is ready.
The bud is like a lot of life experiences: the building up of a relationship; the gestation period of a pregnancy; a long labour; raising children alone; loneliness; old age; a terminal illness. These are but some of life's lessons where things don't just buzz along on their own — they all require closer care and attention.
It can also be likened to our spiritual life, our developing relationship with God. The bud, the invitation, is always there, it must just be nurtured to bloom. He hears those among us who feel they are trying so hard, but not receiving any response. He listens to the intent — the desire, the bloom developing inside — the bud being slow to bloom.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, reassure us when we have doubts; lead us when we struggle to emerge from our troubles. Let us, like the buds on the bushes, stay steadfast, knowing that with patience comes reward. In your name we pray. Amen.