Posted by: karanoel | April 26, 2020

We will be okay

Audio version of this post:

As I was caretaking my roses this morning and reflecting on current events, an experience from a few years ago came to mind. Our last house had an extensive rose garden that had been lovingly planted by our landlord, Pat. Several rose bushes in her diverse collection had been given to her as gifts from her kids to mark special occasions. I did my best to care for these notoriously fickle plants, knowing how precious they were to Pat and can’t say I minded the harvest of fresh, fragrant bouquets on my table.

At one point, in the middle of a severe drought, I was concerned that the watering system wasn’t reaching all of them. So I turned the system to manual to see exactly where the water was going. It turned out all was well, so I moved my concerns elsewhere. It wasn’t until two months later, when the roses were really struggling that I realized I had never turned the sprinklers back to auto. With absolutely no rain, they had gotten absolutely no water.

In a panic, I texted my dear gardener friend, Rachel, about the very imminent, excruciating death of nearly 40 very precious rose bushes. Her response was one I will never forget. “Don’t worry, Kara! Those roses are established. They’ll be okay!” After a few more texts to make sure she understood how shamefully long it had been, followed by assurances that I had not actually destroyed Pat’s beloved garden, I crossed my fingers and carried on. As it turns out, except for two rose bushes that had issues before the incident, all were restored to perfect health.

This pandemic feels like a drought – some big, bad thing far beyond our control. The resulting social distancing feels like someone turned the sprinklers off a couple months ago and forgot to turn them back on… and, even worse, might not remember for a long time yet. We haven’t received the regular watering of connection with people without the barrier of technology, masks, distance and often fear. It feels wrong because we were created from relationship and for relationship – a kind that is close, personal and uncovered. Without it, like parched roses, we struggle.

It is good to recognize this so we will truly appreciate the people in our lives – something we may never take for granted again – and to set aside the distractions and divisions that separate us even in the best of times. But what if it goes far beyond that? What if it is teaching us to trust that no matter how dire things look or feel, we who are rooted in Jesus will always hear His assurances, “Don’t worry! You are established. You will be okay!” Not because circumstances are ideal or our needs feel like they are being met, but because we are established in His love and He uses difficult times to deepen our roots in Him, grow our trust and demonstrate His ability (and delight) to supernaturally meet our needs.

The day I found out Cole died, I told my cousin through tears, “I will be okay.” I knew it was true. Not because I felt okay or because I trusted in my strength to get through without the presence of this precious relationship, but because in every instance of drought and devastation since giving my life to Jesus, He had demonstrated His ability to sustain and restore me. It has not been an easy road and, like these current circumstances, certainly not one I would have chosen for myself, but He has proven Himself faithful, loving and true. And, as a result, I have seen the most beautiful growth in my life.

So to my fellow believers, take heart! And to those who have not yet placed their roots in Jesus, I can think of no better time. His arms are always open and the invitation always stands. Let us all become established in this relationship that cannot fail, no matter how devastating the trials. Not only will we survive, but we will come out the other side bursting with new growth and fragrant blooms… just like all who trust in Him and, of course, Pat’s beautiful roses. 

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O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland…

 I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people..
. Isaiah 43:19-21

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19


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