Gold Magnolias

Nature reflects the glory of God; at times it teaches the mysteries of the Almighty and at other times it reminds us of those teachings. This winter I saw the sovereign power of God in a flower.

Magnolia blooms by Austin hall sprout in February, supposedly the worst time for plant growth; yet in the cold of winter, with overnight frosts and only glimpses of sunlight these flowers grow because the Lord wills them to. Scientists may rebut that there are simple explanations for magnolia blooms in the winter, and with this I agree. I dare, however, to add that these explanations are designed to mirror the simplicity of God’s sovereignty, of which they are a product. Their growth is what it is by God’s will, that they not only sustain life when other plants die but that they might thrive in those times. It’s God’s good pleasure for them as well as us.

In the same way that magnolias bloom in February, a heart which is filled with the Holy Spirit is not only fortified against this empty and adverse world, but assisted by the spirit of God that it may thrive at all times. Where as before, being unsaved souls, we looked to the world for strength and answers, we found none that would last. As Christians we are new creations, enabled to glorify God in all circumstances. This is not to say that

before we are saved we are not intended to glorify God but rather incapable. After salvation we are not faultless, but that’s where the beauty of the Lord’s judgment and grace lies. He is without a doubt the fair judge, yet though we have in our sin been condemned to separation from the eternal God (Hell), He loves us. Though we’re traitors to the King, as it were, we have a pardon waiting for us if we’ll accept it. I have accepted it, and I’m created new; I no longer eat the dysentery-infected prison food of this world, but choice meat from the King’s table, my Father’s table. I reach for God because God sustains me.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –Matthew 11:28-29

For the same reason that the magnolias grow in the winter, do the trees reach for the sky– it’s God’s will. Their branches stretch to the sun until the day they die, yearning for the light that feeds them. When men cut them down and use them for firewood, even then their smoke rises to the heavens. They are a model of the Christian life, of Christ Himself. We, as children of God, reach to our Father. In accordance with His will, He’s the source of our power, the light to our eyes

and the food in our mouths. Like any good father, He’s our provider, our protector, our comforter and our desire. Our Father in heaven is eternal. He’s not only in control of time but is independent of time. He’s before, during, after, inside, outside and around time. He’s all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere. He’s the perfect Dad times infinity. It only makes sense, then, that every bit of our power, love and nourishment comes from our Father, who is the everlasting God.

For the same reason that the trees reach for the sky, we reach for God. For the same reason that magnolias bloom in the winter, Christians can be a light to the world in the darkness of sin. We persevere in hard times not because we can but only because we are new creations in Christ. Though we are still imperfect even after we’re saved, and we are still susceptible to messing up, we are guided by God Himself. Our Father is right there with us showing us where to step in the dark and how to be a light of the world. I see the blooms on those magnolia trees and praise God that my spirit doesn’t wither and die in the hard times. I praise God that He doesn’t call us to be fair-weather Followers. And I praise God that it’s not by my strength but by His that I live another day.

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