The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish,
but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:
I almost didn’t plant any lobelia last spring. The fussy flower doesn’t like heat and drought, and I don’t like namby-pamby plants that require extra watering and attention. But after the drab of winter, the perky purple blossoms were a bright spot of color in the local greenhouse last April, and I caved.
I planted the lobelia in an old washpan, plopped the last remaining geranium in with it, and set the pot beside the old pump in the yard. The picturesque tableau did quite nicely until the hottest, driest summer since 1988 arrived. The lobelia fried, but the geranium struggled on valiantly. So valiantly that I finally took pity on the thing and moved the washpan closer to the house where the plant could enjoy shade for part of the day.
The geranium rallied, but the lobelia looked dead. Dead enough that I almost pulled it up.
But for some reason I couldn’t make myself do it. Eventually, the weather cooled down, and tiny seedlings began poking through the crispy remains of the lobelia. More sprouted in the soil around the now thriving geranium.
“I should put the geranium in another pot and dump the dirt from the pan before those weeds produce seeds,” I told myself more than once. But something kept me from acting on the impulse. And one cool, late summer morning, I stepped outside and and was greeted by perky purple blossoms waving from the washpan. A new crop of lobelia was blooming. I was inordinately pleased.
During my quiet time the other day, 2 Peter 3:9 was quoted as the prayer of confession in our church’s monthly prayer guide. That morning, I prayed through the verse and repented of the same sins I struggle with day after day. Then I thanked God for his slow work in my life. For his patience when I wander away from his living water into spiritual drought. For looking beyond the sins that shrivel my spirit and seeing my heart for him instead. For nurturing the seeds he’s planted inside me. For encouraging new and vibrant life that will burst forth in his right time. For never giving up on me or any of his children as long as we have life and breath. For being inordinately pleased when we seek him, repent, and complete the purposes he created us to fulfill.
Then I wrote a note on next April’s calendar in my planner: Buy lobelia. It looks dead in the heat of the summer, but it comes back.