[Put a little spring in your step]
Spring is doing it’s thing here; the crocuses have broken the ground, boldly revealing their purple hues; cherry blossoms are starting to bloom like pink popcorn, perched purposefully upon each branch, and daffodils are parading their sunny faces for all to behold.
Spring is a wonderful image of how things lying dormant for a time can be joyously reborn and resurrected to new life. We too have this hope in Christ Jesus from the time we give our hearts to Him till the day we shall see His face–which shall shine even more brilliantly and beautifully than the glorious golden glow of the daffodil.
As Easter approaches, Jesus’ death and resurrection is on my mind. It was at Easter that I began my journey with God. I didn’t understand the resurrection. I didn’t fully understand who Jesus was, but 22 years of getting to know my Lord has taught me to cherish Him and His sacrifice; He died so that we may live. However, His death was not the end of the story, for the grave could not contain Him, and on the third day He rose to life again. For the believer this resurrection is also our promise; death has no power over those who believe in Him. Yes, Spring most assuredly paints this image so well.
“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” –Martin Luther
For the believer, we can see God in every detail–not only in every detail of our lives but also in every detail of creation. I’ve always been fascinated by the intricacy in everything He has created, from the veins of a leaf or the texture of the bark of a tree, to the brilliant colours He paints on the butterfly, and the marvelous stripes of the tiger. His works of art sing that He is exceedingly detail oriented, never skimping nor compromising. This is very comforting and reassuring to those of us in His care, as we know that He won’t put the brush down until He’s finished His masterpiece.
Looking back, one spring day as I walked around the yard with my mother-in-law, listening to her talk about her flowers, she pointed out that her daffodils would no longer bloom. When she’d enquired how to remedy this, she was told that daffodils stop blooming; this person’s remedy was to simply pull them up and plant new ones. Later, as I pondered this it started to bother me; why would daffodils stop blooming? I had to know.
When a daffodil comes up with leaves but no flowers, this condition is referred to as daffodil blindness. This may occur due to the growing conditions, pests, or disease, and can be remedied in several ways depending on the cause.
Fortunately, God doesn’t just pull us up and replant new bulbs. Instead He beckons us to come to him—to rise and be healed (Luke 17:19). Jesus healed those who needed healing, and believed in what only He could offer: healing the lame, casting out demons, curing disease, and giving the blind sight. Even today Jesus still meets our many needs. His sacrificial death was enough proof that He was willing, and His resurrection was the proof that He is able. We are assured that He still works fervently in the life of the believer even reopening our eyes if we’ve become spiritually blind.
While it may be easiest to just replace our daffodil bulbs when they stop blooming, in our own lives it doesn’t work that simply. When something is detrimental to our spiritual health we have to get to the root of the problem and nip it in the bud (so to speak). Don’t stop blooming. Below are the many ways in which daffodils can stop blooming, and how we can prevent this from occurring in our own walk with God.
1. Dry Conditions: (In dry conditions daffodils may stop blooming prematurely.)
If your walk with God has run dry–thirst no more. Come to the Well that is Jesus and you shall never be parched again.
“Jesus answered, “Every person who drinks this will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give will become a spring of water flowing inside him. It will give him eternal life. –John 4:14
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” –John 7:38
2. Defoliation: (When leaves are removed soon after flowering it prevents the bulb from building up food reserves for the future.)
Remain in Jesus. If we don’t continue to build up those food reserves, we too can stop growing and blooming. Without blooms, no flowering tree or vine can bear fruit. We want to bloom and bear much fruit.
“I am the true vine; my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. And he trims and cleans every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in me. –John 15:1-4
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing. If any do not remain in me, they are like a branch that is thrown away and then dies. People pick up dead branches, throw them into the fire, and burn them. If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you. You should produce much fruit and show that you are my followers, which brings glory to my Father. I loved you as the Father loved me. Now remain in my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and I remain in his love. In the same way, if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.” –John 15:5-11
3. Knotting: (Gardner’s sometimes tidy up clumps of daffodils by drawing the leaves together into a knot. (Something that isn’t recommended) This reduces the daffodils ability to thrive and may cause or increase the risk of blindness.)
Be anxious for nothing. The worries of this world can make us feel caged in, trapping us in our fear, (tying us in knots even). If we choose to believe fear–the lie of the enemy–this can cause those worries to steal the joy we once had in Jesus. Don’t listen. Instead meditate on what you already know to be true. Another one of my favorite quotes is this: “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” (Raymond Edmond).
“But the worries of this life, the deceitful desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” –Mark 4:19
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. –Matthew 11:28
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6
4. Seeding: (Allowing seed capsules to form after flowering means that energy is diverted from bulb rebuilding.)
Letting worldly seed form in our mind takes hold in our heart, stealing from our bulb (the root of our faith).
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” –Colossians 2:8
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” –Romans 12:2
5. Nutrition: (Bulbs will normally flower well in their first year on any kind of soil, but may rapidly decline without additional nutrition.)
Simply put–Study is needed. Read your Bible, and don’t stop reading your Bible; but don’t simply read–put it into practice. The Israelites were said to be destroyed for lack of knowledge, God tried to teach them but they rejected God and His teachings, continuing to do every hated thing.
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” –Proverbs 18:15 (See also the entire Bible).
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” –Hosea 4:6
6. Planting Time: (Bud performance can rapidly decline if bulbs are planted later than mid-September.)
Trust in God’s timing. If we fail to trust in God we too will rapidly decline; when we do things in our own way, we either fall behind or take things into our own hands and run ahead of Him making poor choices. Sometimes that wait can be long, and we may feel as if God has forgotten all about our needs, rest assured He hasn’t forgotten nor is He off schedule. Be patient and trust God.
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.” –Psalm 37:7-8
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” –Ecclesiastes 3:1
“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” –Genesis 18:14
7. Pests: (Narcissus bulb fly and narcissus eelworm may damage bulbs.)
Allowing evil. Don’t play around with things you know will set you back, and don’t be overcome by the evil things that others may toss your way. Stay in the good way and keep standing on solid ground. Jesus is that good soil.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. –Ephesians 5:11 – 12
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” –Romans 12:21
8. Overcrowding: (Over time clumps of daffodils may cause overcrowding leading to poor flowering.)
Too many “friends.”
Too many friends will ruin you. The verse below may be suggestive of a situation in which a person has a rather large following. In this case your “friends” will likely not be the sort of people you can genuinely consider friends, and not the sort of crowd that will be good for your growth–feeding your ego and telling you what you want to hear. If you have fame or money for example you may have a great deal of sycophants rather than friends.
However, too many friends can also ruin the average Joe in the sense that misery loves company. Sometimes like minded people, who aren’t so straight in their paths can glom together, cheering each other on. If your being applauded for your bad behavior you’d be wise to rethink your behavior and the people you’ve surrounded yourself with.
There is strength in numbers but only if we’re jammed in with the right crowd. Who do you spend your time with? Who do you lean on, and who keeps you accountable? The influence of strong Christian friends and family can go a long way to stabilizing your growth, keeping you well fed, and in full bloom, but there is no greater friend than Jesus, so make sure He’s top priority and that you’re leaning on Him most heavily.
“A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” –Proverbs 18:24
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” –1 Corinthians 15:33
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” –Psalm 1:1
9. Disease: (Narcissus basal rot or daffodil virus may cause bulbs to die or lose their vigor.)
Sin. Keep up to date with God: confess your sins; and go and sin no more. Continuing in our sin is a sure fire way to stop blooming.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” –1 John 1:8-10
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” –1 John 3:9
Our Bug Spray: Store up your treasures in heaven.
If you have become weak, make yourself strong again. Get back to Jesus and get back to the word of God. Live it and believe it.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” — Psalm 119:11
“You have become weak. So make yourselves strong again. Live in the right way so that you will be saved and your weakness will not cause you to be lost.” –Hebrews 12:12 – 13
Daffodil information sourced from: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=658