Well, soon enough another layer of snow fell and I forgot about those pansies...until about the last week of March. An early spring had melted away the snow in my front flower bed and the sun was shining. I walked out my front door on my way out to run some errands and what did I see? Those perky little pansies!
There they were, arriving ahead of the tulips, daffodils and even the snow crocuses. Now I have no idea if their blooms truly lasted all winter but they did not seem any worse for wear. I bent down and gave them a good inspection. Green leaves, healthy petals and not a trace of frostbite anywhere! “Well, good for them!” I thought.
Then someone whispered, “Don’t put down the pansies.”
Now what is that supposed mean? Well, for once I stopped and asked “OK, Lord, what are you trying to tell me?” And this is the answer that I got:
Don’t put down those that seem weak or small or too young. I am enough. If I have called them to do something, I will give them what they need to do it. And that includes you – when you think you can’t possibly do something, that it will be too hard, that you are not big enough, strong enough, that you are bound to fail…remember that when you are weak, I am strong!
Wow, thank you, Lord! But He wasn’t done with me yet. The next morning, I read this:
“The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.”
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;
though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
When I saw those pansies back in November, peeking their heads out of the snow I scolded them – thinking they were in for trouble. That the inevitable North Dakota winter we were about to enter into certainly meant ‘disaster’ for those pansies. I mean, maybe if they were a hearty hosta or a mighty oak tree….but they were pitiful little pansies and everyone knows pansies are weak and fragile and just plain wimpy.
But maybe those pitiful little pansies were trusting in something greater than my doomsday weather forecast. I know they didn’t survive due to my extraordinary gardening skills (insert sound bite of family’s howling laughter.) Maybe they made it through because they were trusting in their creator, who promised he would ‘weather’ them through the impending disaster. Maybe, just maybe, they had the faith to know that if their little petals fell or their leaves started turning a little brown…he would be there to pick up their heads and bring them sunshine and rain to refresh and restore them. That even when the situation seemed unending and hopeless, he was there to hold them up and not let them wither away. Pretty powerful…for a pansy, huh?
And that’s what I learned from a pansy. That no matter how small or insignificant I may feel or someone else may appear, our God is BIG. Big enough to provide for us when we are struggling, big enough to hold us up when we don’t think we can stand any longer, big enough to weather us through whatever our next disaster may be - even when others may tell us its hopeless and that we should just give up and run for cover. If God called you to it – he will bring you through it!
In the meantime, I’m keeping my eye on those pansies. Something tells me God’s not done with them yet and I’m thinking that with faith like that, the weeds better get out of their way (I think there’s a whole other lesson there :)
Stay tuned for a Tale of Two Tulips…