Bloom Where You Are Planted
Bloom where you are planted. It's a saying not hard to understand, but perhaps harder to do and live. For the flower it's easy; it can't help it. It's going to grow and blossom wherever the seed falls. But for a person, sometimes we close ourselves up and pull the flower petals in tight and declare, no way am I going to bloom! Sometimes when we are far away from where we want to be. Sometimes when we are in a place that is strange and troubling and difficult and fearful.
I challenge you to read Jeremiah 29:1-14. Much like the Jews exiled in Babylon, even in the place of trouble and exile, you can live and live well. The Jewish exiles in Babylon had every reason, every right, to refuse to bloom where they were planted. The year is 594 BCE. Jerusalem is still standing, it still is ruled by one of its own, a descendant of David named Zedekiah, but he is firmly under the thumb of Nebuchadnezzar, the powerful king of Babylon. Four years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar had invaded Jerusalem, carrying off many of its treasures, and carrying off its king, Zedekiah's nephew, Jehoiachin. The king, his mother, his sons, government officials, artisans, thousands of Jerusalem's elite, were all taken from their homes to live in exile in Babylon. Only the poorest among them were left behind. They are far from home, living in a foreign land, living among strangers and enemies. There are those among them, calling themselves prophets, who offer words of hope and encouragement, promising they will all return home soon, that within two years the power of Babylon will be broken and they will all go back home. Just hold on! Hold out for just a short while! All will be well! All will be right! But these were false hopes, empty promises. Jeremiah tells the truth: You're going to be there for a while! So what do you do? What do you do when your world is turned upside down and inside out, when where you live is not home, when those you live among are not family, when your God has seemingly abandoned you entirely? What do you do when you find yourself in a place that is far away from where you want to be, in a place that is strange and troubling and difficult and fearful? Do you grit your teeth and steel your will and hang on as best you can? Do you shout a bitter complaint and stubbornly refuse to play along or do you withdraw into yourself in silence and self-pity?
Try doing what Jeremiah suggests. Could you have that kind of faith in the Lord's promise ... to you? Could you bloom where you are planted, wherever you are planted? Could you do more, much more, than just get along, get by, make the best of it, but live with eagerness and purpose and gratitude and joy?
Wherever we are, however we are, God has not forgotten us, God will not forget us. That, by itself, is enough reason to give thanks. That, by itself, is enough reason to build a house and plant a garden and have children and take delight in seeing your children's children. That, by itself, is enough reason to bloom where you are planted.
Happy Spring and happy blooming!