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BLOSSOM OF HOPE

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This week has felt like I was navigating upstream without a paddle. The onslaught of business issues coupled with the loss of a dear friend to cancer had drained both my mental and physical energy. I needed a distraction from life so I went outside and pulled weeds.

The Barren Tree

The barren weeping cherry tree.

I’m not sure why, but when faced with life’s difficult moments, I find comfort in pulling weeds. I many not be able to control situations in life, but I can control the unwanted growth in my flower beds. And so, with garden trowel in hand, I walked through my flower beds looking for weeds. Every turn of the blade and scoop of dirt would help my plants thrive.

As I worked my way around the property, I approached the final flower bed. It is my favorite flower bed and home to a weeping cherry tree I planted many years ago. Every spring its pink blossoms cascade downward in an effort to kiss the ground below and has been the backdrop of my daughter’s many prom pictures. But today, there were no pink blossoms as it struggled to survive; it was slowly dying and its days were numbered.

Sadness overwhelmed me much like it did when I heard the news of my friend’s death. No amount of weeding, feeding or care would revive or extend the life of my beloved weeping cherry tree. There were a few signs of life, but for the most part, the barren branches told me its days were numbered.

I wrapped my arms around the base of the tree trunk and prayed silently. It wasn’t a prayer for a miracle and certainly not a prayer filled with much faith. It was more an outcry to God for assurance. I needed to know I wasn’t alone in the midst of the difficult moments and challenges before me.

It was a simple prayer,
“Heavenly Father, I am overwhelmed by life right now. I am broken, drained and barren just like this weeping cherry tree. I am being choked by weeds and need your divine intervention. There are no blossoms on this tree that I embrace, not one. If you are here with me, if there is hope beyond today, let me see just one cherry blossom on this tree. Amen.”

For me, one cherry blossom would signify hope endures even in life’s darkest moments. When I finished my prayer, I looked upwards. It was then, my eyes were directed to one lone cherry blossom and I knew God cared about every detail of my life.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Whatever difficulties and trials you face in this life, embrace hope in things eternal. When weeds seek to choke your hope and peace; when you are overwhelmed with sadness, anxiety and the uncertainty of the future, know this: God has a plan for your life.

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MORE THAN I CAN HANDLE

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If I were asked to pick one Bible scripture I believe is repeatedly misinterpreted, it would be 1 Corinthians 10:13.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

This verse is often misquoted as “God won’t give you more than you can handle (bear).” However, you won’t find that anywhere within the pages of the Bible. It simply doesn’t exist. The Bible is filled with stories of individuals given way more than they could handle and lamentations about their suffering.

For a start, take a look at King David, Apostle Paul and Prophet Jeremiah. They were all afflicted and burdened beyond what they could handle. Yet, in adversity, they learned to rely on the divine power of God to sustain them in their darkest hours.

We all will face trials and adversities in our lifetime, but it doesn’t indicate God doesn’t love us. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is proof God loves me so much that He is unwilling to let us rely on our own strength. When faced with adversity, we need to know that our God will endure and persevere with us until the end; no matter the outcome.

When we face difficulties greater than ourselves God empowers and strengthens us to get through those moments that would otherwise break us.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me – Philippians 4:13 NKJV

When faced with a heavy burden or situation, turn to God for strength. I know from experience God’s light is revealed at the end of every spiritual, emotional or physical eclipse. Just whisper His name; He stands ready to strengthen us in our moments of weakness and in times of despair.

The death and resurrection of Christ empowered Christian believers to call out to God in our time of need; it afforded us entry into the Throne Room of God.

Forget about relying on your own strength. Instead, rely on the strength of God and the Holy Spirit when faced with more than you can handle.