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Once in a Super Bloom

There’s a thing in California called a “super bloom” which happens about once every decade. It’s a rare incident in which huge amounts of desert flowers open at the same time. Some of these super blooms cover such a large area they can be seen from space (like the one in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in 2017)! 

A specific set of circumstances have to occur in order for the super bloom to...well...bloom. The dormant seeds have to undergo a long, extensive, and very harsh set of conditions before they achieve this extraordinary flowering. Many of the seeds stay dormant for years until the right conditions bring breakthrough.

I first heard of these super blooms two years ago during a Cornerstone message series. There was a wall at the back of the sanctuary where we could write down one thing we wanted to pursue that year; I wrote “super bloom.” 

When I wrote those words on the board, I had been in an emotional, creative, and spiritual desert for a long time and I was longing for the flowers to flourish from my pain. I was longing for there to be some significance or meaning or beauty that could be made out of the barren, broken places of despair I had found myself in.

For I am about to do something new.
   See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

Fast forward two years later and I’m still waiting for it to happen. But folks, can I just say that I feel it coming? I don’t know for how much longer some seeds need to stay dormant inside of me, and I don’t know how many more harsh conditions I will need to face, but some seeds have started to blossom. And I know that there is more to come.

There’s a quote by A. W. Tozer in his book The Root Of Righteousness that is hard to swallow: “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt Him deeply.” I think there is much truth to be found here. Can we truly know joy unless we have experienced deep sorrow? Can we truly appreciate goodness unless we have befriended the dark? Can we truly fathom the depths of God’s power unless we reach the depths of our own brokenness?

Look, God can use anyone and anything for His purposes. And He often uses our unique sets of strengths and skills. But one of the beautiful and most powerful things about God is that He can also use the broken, suffering parts of our lives. He doesn’t just use our strengths. He uses our pain and our weakness as a strength. He holds the deep potential inside of us tightly in His hand, nurturing and watering it like a seed while the drought drags on and the pests and weeds and sand storms try to destroy it, and then He allows it to bloom into something that otherwise would not have been possible. 

I know 2020 has brought long, extensive, harsh realities for all of us. I don’t think we’re out of the woods just yet. I know that when we’re in the middle of a long drought it’s hard to see or feel anything good. And I acknowledge that we might be a long, long way from experiencing the beauty of our super bloom.

But, is it possible that the God of all hope (Romans 15:13) is doing something you cannot see? Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, whatever pain and adversity you are in the thick of, is forging the dormant seeds of faith within you to one day bloom with so much hope it will be visible from outer space?

Me? I’m holding out for a super bloom.