Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
February 9, 2020
Because the daffodils are blooming again
Sarah’s daffodils are blooming again. The lovely yellow and white flowers spring up every January to grace our lawn on into February. They remind me to give thanks once again for Sarah, Dean’s mother. She planted our daffodils.
Sarah departed this life 20 years ago, but her little daffodils are still blessing me. That dear woman loved to work in the yard. Giver her a rake and she was in heaven. I wish she was still here. I don’t like rakes or yardwork. But I do love her daffodils.
The lawnmower cuts the daffodils down. Grass grows over the green stems. You don’t know the daffodils are there in the fall. But, though dormant, they are still there, waiting until January to burst up out of the ground. I can almost hear them shouting, “Take heart old man, we are here again!” They do so encourage me. Their arrival stirs my confidence in the promises of God.
A phrase too glib for you? Well, let me explain. Consider just one of God’s promises, this one from Ezekiel: “And I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord” (34:26-27).
The daffodils rise up and bloom because God says do it. Dormancy is part of God’s plan. Spring arrives on His schedule. Trees yield their fruit because God says, “Yield your fruit.” The seasons change because God says, “Change.” Things happen when God speaks. Remember how Genesis puts it: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
So, because the daffodils are blooming again, I need not be discouraged as I wait for the harvest God has promised. Yes, life is a struggle. Winter is hard. But my labor, and your labor, will not be in vain. Spring will come. God will, in His own good time, bring forth fruit from our labor. He is, after all, the Lord of the harvest!
Are there times when I am bewildered by difficult circumstances? Are there times when I do not understand what God is doing? Are there people for whom I have been praying still living in darkness? Yes! But I need not despair for the daffodils are blooming again! So, I will not yield to the demon of discouragement. I will continue to trust and serve God no matter how difficult the winter may be.
When I was 29, my life was radically changed by an encounter with E. Stanley Jones. God used Jones to rescue me from the harsh winter that had come upon my soul. As Christ spoke to me through Brother Stanley, a spiritual springtime set my soul free. Joy and peace began blooming in my soul! I came alive to God in ways I had never been alive.
Who was E. Stanley Jones? At the time I met him he was in the last decade of his life. A missionary to India, he was known across the world for proclaiming Jesus as The Way to God. His constant theme was “Jesus is Lord!” I was thrilled to discover how he found The Way to life in Christ. His story involves a preacher who knew what it meant to wait on God while being rebuffed by his fellow Methodists, especially Methodist hierarchy.
That preacher was Henry Clay Morrison, president of Asbury College and founder of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. Known as one of the greatest pulpit orators in America, Morrison was snubbed by some Methodist leaders who did not like his emphasis on holiness. Booked on one occasion to preach at large churches in Baltimore, Maryland, he arrived to discover that the presiding elder had directed the pastors to cancel the meetings.
Morrison had no place to preach – until the pastor of a small congregation in Baltimore dared to invite Morrison to preach in his church. Refusing to be discouraged, Morrison accepted the invitation. That night, after preaching to a small crowd, Morrison had only one person, a 14-year-old boy, to come forward at the end of the service. That boy was E. Stanley Jones who accepted Morrison’s invitation to give his life to Christ.
Henry Clay Morrison had no way of knowing that night that his faithfulness would be rewarded with such a great harvest of souls through the ministry of E. Stanley Jones. By God’s grace, Morrison lived to see that young man graduate from Asbury and become a missionary and evangelist who inspired thousands upon thousands across the world to accept Jesus as Lord of their lives.
Because the daffodils are blooming, I shall not lose heart. The chilly winds of winter will give way to spring and its showers of blessing. The Lord of the harvest, who faithfully keeps his promises, will reward the faithfulness of his children. You can bet your life on that! + + +