My favorite time of year is springtime. I absolutely live for seeing things that have been dormant for months come back to life in full color. My favorite colors are the pinks and purples, and my favorite springtime flower is the azalea.
Last spring, I bought three azaleas for the flowerbed in front of our house: one pink and two white. I have big plans to eventually plant azaleas all through our flowerbeds, but we’re taking it slow because I am not traditionally good at keeping plants alive (it doesn’t stop me from trying, though). So, my husband and I planted these three azaleas: we measured the distance from the house, we measured the distance between the holes we had dug, and we made sure the holes were deep enough. And then we planted, with high hopes and fingers crossed.
The azaleas flourished throughout the warmer months, much to my delight. As the weather turned colder, though, two of the three started looking a little sickly. My husband read up on it and discovered that since they had only recently been planted, their root systems weren’t established enough to keep them alive through the coldest months of winter. So, we ordered some special material to cover them up with at night when the temperatures get below freezing. So far, it seems to be working. And hopefully, they’ll be healthy and hearty enough after this year to withstand the cold temperatures next year.
As we have cared for these plants throughout the winter, it struck me how God must feel as He cares for us. We carefully planned for their arrival and took great care to plant them in a place where we hope they will flourish and bloom. And, most importantly, when they needed some extra care, we did what was necessary to keep them healthy and alive.
It’s easy for me to imagine that God gets frustrated when I’m extra needy. But I just don’t think that’s how He operates. When I feel like I’m not going to make it through a hard season, He doesn’t leave me on my own to figure it out without Him. He gently cares for me. And, I have come to realize: my survival depends solely on Him. I won’t make it through this life of faith apart from His provision, and I’m leaning on Him daily to provide. Just as we cover our cold azaleas each night, He covers me with His mercy and peace. And, while it doesn’t bring the winter to an end any sooner, it does help me make it through the night with faith that I will see the sun again sooner or later.
If you’re in a dry or cold season, it’s my prayer that you would find evidence of God’s care and concern for you all around. He is faithful, and He is worth it.
Corley Shumaker is the Assistant Campus Minister of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Arkansas State University. She has an MDiv. degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Corley is married to Kevin and you’ll find them cheering on Red Wolves football each fall. You can reach her on Twitter at @corleycline