It feels like Christmas morning all over again as I enter the garden and catch a glimpse of the new blooms.

I walk to my pot of marigolds. These yellow-orange beauties do not burst open. Rather, each day, the petals unfold from the center, one by one. This morning the bloom is complete.

I turn to see my zinnia buds with their petals still tucked in tightly. Tomorrow the bloom will break open. I come the next day and find the flower still curled up in a ball. Surely today … now the time is right. The flower is ready. 

Nearly a week passes. Part of me comes to the garden with less hope and diminished expectation. Rather than charging in – surely today! – I prepare myself for disappointment.

I don’t doubt that this bud will open with brilliant beauty … or even that it will stay open for me to enjoy day after day.

No. What remains unknown, what I’m wrestling with, is the timing.

 

 

The book of Psalms opens with a descriptive proclamation of the blessed man, telling us what he abstains from and what he pursues. The psalmist writes of a fervent joy in the person who delights in and meditates on the law of the Lord. (see Psalm 1:1-2)

The psalmist moves into verse 3 by painting a picture of the blessed man.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. 

Tucked in this verse is a phrase that I often read right past.

But it is a phrase that echoes in the pages of Scripture. It carries weight and frames every working of God, from the smallest situation to the greatest happening in history.

The gathering of sheaves and the formation of constellations in Job.  A spoken word in Proverbs. The assurance of harvest in Jeremiah.

The spring and autumn rains in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel.

All of these come.

In season.

In season. We have it well established in our minds that flowers, plants, crops grow in season. I don’t expect to drive down the highway and spot pumpkins popping out of the snow. The varieties of plants and the precise timing for harvest may vary across the globe, but there is still a season, a timetable, that plants and crops abide by.

There is a season of fruition and a season of dormancy. A time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, Ecclesiastes says.


As I consider my garden and the minor disappointment I feel when a zinnia bloom remains closed longer than I expected, the parallel of waiting for fruition in my own life with Christ comes alive.

Disappointment creeps in when I linger longer than I wanted, or expected, in a season of waiting. I am encouraged by the growth that still takes place, but the question remains, when will the labor cease and the harvest begin? 

The labor of our various lives. I’ve completed college. I’ve served on the mission field for 10 years. I’ve pastored a church. Cared for my family … donated money … stepped out in faith, believed, prayer …waited. Long enough. 

On the one hand, friends, our labor in the Lord does not cease this side of heaven. Growing and abiding in Christ will always entail walking forward with Him in what He’s given us to do. Stepping out in trust and obedience as He leads, for it will never be in vain. (see I Corinthians 15:58)

And still, on the other hand, we want to see results after we’ve worked hard. We’ve pressed in, we’ve sought the Lord, followed His leading … when will we reap the harvest?

In season.

The Lord invites us to trust that just as He conducts the symphony of His creation  through seasons {planting, growing, harvesting}, He crafts our lives – our coming and going, our waiting, our working – in His perfect timing. As Paul urges, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

 

To know, to believe, that our labor in the Lord will yield fruit in its season is to know and believe that the Lord is who He says He is, that He is the One who brings all things to fruition at the proper time.

The nature of bearing fruit in season must go beyond a poetic cliche we cling to when we don’t see an immediate “return on our investment.” Standing on the truth of the Lord’s timing fundamentally reveals what we believe about the Lord’s goodness to us and His faithfulness to fulfill His purposes.


Understanding and believing what the psalmist declares – the tree planted by streams of water yields its fruit in season – is truly freeing. Rather than racing ahead of the Lord or being discouraged with His seeming silence, we can rest and walk daily with full assurance that He is working. The harvest will come. And in the process we are being changed into Christ’s likeness. 

The same God who brings the marigolds and zinnias into full bloom at the proper moment;

the same God who shapes the constellations in their season;

the same God who produces the fruit in our lives as we delight in Him and meditate on His Word

is the the same God who acted in the fullness of time to send His Son. (Galatians 4:4-5) 

Whether we walk through an explosive season of harvest or through a quiet season of diligent sowing, we can find joy and perfect peace in knowing every moment is held by the Lord.

In the proper season, He will bring to life what He has sown in us.

The Lover of our souls, the Author of time can be trusted.

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