I Missed The Gardenias

August 2, 2004
by John Dobbs

Hebrews 10:22 – Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (NIV)

Four or five years ago, I planted a row of gardenia bushes along the property line in my backyard. When I first planted them, they looked like a few twigs sticking up out of the ground. I didn't have much hope for them. All but one has survived, and they are now as tall as I am. Once every spring, they offer up a beautiful fragrant gift in their lovely white flowers. This year I missed the gardenias.

My house doesn't have a back door. We have two front doors, but no back door. So, if I want to go into the backyard, I exit in the front of the house and make my way around back. Other than mowing, though, I seldom have a reason to go back there. I'm a great indoors-man, and we just haven't done much with our backyard. Although I knew that the gardenias were going to bloom soon, I didn't go back to look. They have now bloomed and started to turn brown. A few recent rainstorms have beaten the tender blooms to pieces. I really do think it sad that I missed the gardenias.

I believe that the blessings of God's presence are often missed because we do not seek Him. We know He is there. We would admire His beauty. The fragrance of His leading is enchanting. We could be amazed at how recognition of His presence grows in our lives. But more often, I think, the gift of God's presence in our lives is a forgotten blessing that we miss after a time of neglect, seasons without prayer, steps taken without His guidance, bearing too many burdens because of guilt, and no time for Scripture to fill our hearts.

Thankfully, God is not an annual occurrence, but He is ever present with us. He is not beaten down by the storms of life, leaving us with regret and longing. He is the giver of an abundant life. He is within the grasp of our hearts. He is eager to be given a place of priority in our lives.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, that even when we have missed the blessings You have provided, You are not fading away from us. Help us to see Your glory and to know Your presence each step of our journey. Amen.

About the author:

John Dobbs
Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA

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