“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV
When I hear the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted,” I typically think of transplanted flowers. You know, plants that have been carefully uprooted and thoughtfully placed somewhere other than their original rooting. It would be easy to envision ferns hanging from our balcony, or succulents thriving in clay pots, when considering how re-potted plants tend to bloom where they are planted.
However, this phrase is usually offered when life may feel more like weeds sprouting up between the cracks in a concrete walkway. “Bloom where you are planted,” takes on a whole new meaning when the “planting” feels more happenstance than intentional. There are times it can feel that in order to bloom, we have to force our way through something that was established without us in mind.
Like seeds carried by the wind, we can sometimes feel as if we are being asked to make do with what we have. Although our new surroundings are not comfortable or familiar, we are expected to adapt to what now is considered “home.” How do flowers wind up growing out of cracks in the sidewalk? What were the circumstances that caused blooms to weave in and out of chain linked fences? Yes, life can look totally different from what we planned.
In Jeremiah we learn God’s perspective regarding how we are to bloom even in dire circumstances. By no means am I saying that your waiting room situation is due to disobedience, I am merely saying that even when it is our own choices that bring about a delay, God expects us to increase, not decrease. Even when banished from familiar surroundings, God says build and live. Seriously? Seriously!
Even when we don’t know how long we will be in unfamiliar territory, God commands that we plant and become productive. Though our new neighbors may not be welcoming or friendly, we are instructed to pray for them, knowing if all goes well for them; all will go well for us as well. Yes, these mandates include times in which we are waiting.
While we may have prayed for a thing to take place, we are not always clear what “the thing” will eventually look like. Nevertheless, even in those times when we are not clear about what we are waiting for; we are to produce. For all the times I prayed the ministry will grow and reach people, I admit that I didn’t really know how that would ultimately look. However, that was never an excuse to not bloom where I was planted.
On our way to what God has promised, we are to build, live, produce, and increase. To bloom where we are planted, even if where we are is temporary, we must have the right attitude and yes, pray. As Believers we have to view our every circumstance as an opportunity to be a light and a blessing. So if you find yourself on the outskirts of your own dreams… bloom! Bloom anyway! In your season of waiting, God promises to send enough sunlight and water so that you can bloom and flourish!