July 24, 2020

Spoiled Ripe

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14, 15).*

Some good friends had invited us into the mountains of northern Arizona to attend their daughter’s wedding. In accepting the invitation, they asked my wife if she would do the floral arrangements. Having happily performed this duty on numerous occasions, Diane readily agreed and offered to do the arranging as our gift to the couple. In consulting with the bride, the young woman requested some rather exotic flowers that could be obtained only through a limited number of suppliers and had to be shipped as a special order.

The day before the wedding, we picked up the flowers and began our drive up the mountain. We had made arrangements to stay at the home of a friend near where the wedding was to take place, although she would be out of town at the time. In her garage was an extra refrigerator she offered for our use to keep the flowers fresh until the wedding the following day. Because the ceremony would not take place until late afternoon, Diane would have plenty of time to make the corsages, boutonnieres, and floral displays with a little help from her husband (of course).

When dawn broke, Diane was antsy to get started. Opening the refrigerator door, she removed the flowers and placed them on a nearby bench. Within moments of being exposed to the warm air, it became apparent why this refrigerator was now located in the garage rather than in the kitchen—it functioned more like a freezer than a refrigerator. This important bit of information had not been communicated to us. Through the night, nearly all the flowers had frozen. In being exposed to the warmer outside air, they began to turn lucent, fade in color, and go limp. Their beauty spoiled, they were now more suited for the garbage heap than as bouquets for a bridal party.

Because of their rarity, and having been special ordered, there was absolutely no way to replace them. We could do nothing . . . except pray. And that’s what we did.

Back From the Brink

Kneeling there with eyes closed and flowers in hand, Diane and I both asked God to return them to their original unspoiled state as a witness to His greatness and ability; not for our sake, but so that all in attendance that evening might know He is a God who longs for us to come to Him in faith with all of life’s ups and downs.

We opened our eyes and saw no apparent change; the flowers were still lucent and wilted.

Undaunted by their appearance and acting in faith—for the Bible tells us to “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7)—Diane took up the drooping flowers that were to form the bridal bouquet and began to wrap the stems from the bottom up, just as she would normally do. With her eyes fixed on winding the floral tape, she paid no attention to the flowers themselves.

As the tape wound up to the base of the bouquet, her focus suddenly changed. Gasping in awe, and with a thankful heart, she praised God for restoring the flowers she held in her hand. To the bouquet, all the color and wilt had given way to straight and upright heads. Looking to the rest of the flowers, they, too, displayed their original fresh, unspoiled glow.

God had answered our prayer of faith with no haste or delay. By trusting in Him and His promise, He answered our need. What an amazing God!

Having placed those flowers in His hands, they held up through the ceremony and on into the reception that evening. As toasts were being given to the bride and groom, we told the guests the miracle of the flowers. Only as the night wore on did they begin to show signs of having been frozen.

We serve a loving God who’s only desire is to spoil us ripe with His power and promises. What He did that day He longs to do for each of us on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, even those seemingly minor things of life that we tend to do on our own. If we will just get out of His way and rely fully upon Him, there is nothing we (ahem, He) cannot do.

So what holds us back from walking by faith? Or maybe that question should be asked another way. Why are we holding God back?

Don Droze, a former dean of boys at Thunderbird Adventist Academy, lives in Morristown, Arizona.

*Bible texts are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.