Three weeks ago I planted zinnias in my front garden. It was (notice I said “was”) a nice 3 by 6 foot bed with beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows. For about three days the flowers thrived. Then a few disappeared, snapped off a couple inches above the ground. At first sight I thought perhaps the neighbor boys had bounced the basket ball into the garden and been afraid to tell me. The following night, with my dog barking at 1am, I peered out the window and saw 4 deer at the edge of the cul-de-sac. The next morning over half of the flowers were snapped off and there were deep hoof prints through the bed.
“Okay”, I optimistically thought, “maybe they’ll grow back.” And they did! 2 weeks later they were (notice I said “were”) thriving again, as if the deer “pruning” had done them good. Last night just after midnight (dog barking again) I peered through the window. This time the deer were still in the garden, about 20 feet from the window. Two were peering up at me (well, probably peering in the direction of the growling, barking dog) and the other was gingerly lowering his head, stooping in for another flower.
I was amused. I was caught between wishing they weren’t there (I’d spent money and time and energy and gallons of water on these flowers!) and being ever so delighted I could watch the deer up close (their gentle movements, graceful steps, big bright eyes).
The very thing I didn’t want to happen . . . allowed for something beautiful. And it hit me. God works in this mysterious way so very often:
- The hard times (loss of job, loss of loved one, sudden illness) we do not want allow us to receive from others and rely daily and entirely on our God for strength.
- The loneliness we do not want enables us to draw close to the Lord and understand ourselves better.
- The ridicule or persecution we do not welcome provides for a deepened compassion and a firm resolute to love our neighbor.
- The failure we do not desire inspires a new path and a new determination to succeed.
- The difficult person or sticky situation we do not “sign up for” offers an opportunity to grow in virtue and thus glorify our God.
This is once again proof that our Lord knows what he is doing! Today may we look for the beautiful . . . even in the situations and circumstances we’d rather do without.
As for the zinnias, I’m sure they’ll grow back. And when they do, I’ll be waiting and watching for something beautiful.