Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Spirit Of God Descend"1 (Lyrics)
1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)
This year, I tenderly raised my four tomato plants in anticipation of a large crop of juicy, red tomatoes to share with my neighbours. Each day, I watered them faithfully, and as the season progressed, I checked their vines for ripe tomatoes, only to be disappointed over and over again. They all had produced several green tomatoes of varying sizes, but only one had ripened.
It is now the middle of September, well past the time of ripe, red tomatoes, but my late bloomers still bear only green tomatoes.
As I thought about this strange phenomenon, my mind went back to my teaching days and some of the late bloomers that I had had in my classes. All of my efforts and continual urging to get them to live up to their potential seemed to be of no avail. When all of my cajoling failed, I began to include them in my prayers, but nothing changed. I remember feeling so disappointed for them when they left my grade six class for junior high school, fearing that they would never amount to very much, despite their superior levels of ability, and I felt that somehow, I had failed them.
How thrilled I was over the ensuing years when several of those same students called to thank me, and let me know how my loving care (nagging?) had motivated them to become lawyers, scientists, teachers, doctors, or members of some other equally rewarding profession. How I thanked God! My late bloomers had finally bloomed! I was so proud of them!
It is the same with parents who are constantly harping at their children to achieve better grades. Then one day, their grown child stands as valedictorian for the class, and tears of pride fill their eyes. The late bloomer has finally bloomed far beyond their parents' wildest hopes and dreams.
And what of the wild children that the parents have prayed for over the years to turn from their heart-breaking lifestyles and come to know the Lord? Then one day, the grown child, that they have come so close to giving up on, phones to tell them that they have received God's wonderful gift of salvation. Their late bloomer has bloomed gloriously!
As I write these words, I wonder if any of my readers might be ready to throw up their hands in despair over some late bloomer in their lives. Don't! Don't ever give up on them, because with God, all things are possible, and hopefully one day, you will open your eyes to a glorious sight. Your child, your student, a family member, your dearest friend, possibly even your husband or wife, has burst forth in full bloom in answer to your faithful prayers. They have given their life to Jesus Christ, and your joy knows no bounds! Praise our faithful and wonderful Lord!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us never to give up on our friends and loved ones, especially when it comes to receiving the gift of eternal life. Discouragement is a tool of the devil, and we know that You are a prayer-answering God. Keep us believing for our late bloomers. Amen.