There it was – swaying in the cold wind that came whipping around the house – a single bloom. Today is the first of May and usually by now my iris blooms have begun to fade and make way for other spring flowers, but this year this single bloom is not only late but lonely. Irises are a hardy spring flowers and they’ve been known to bloom around old farm houses for decades after the occupants have left the farm. I have raised irises in many places for many years and I cannot remember a spring in which they did not bloom – until this year.
The Texas Panhandle is a land of extremes when it comes to the weather. Temperatures in the summer can soar to triple digits and winter lows can plummet to negative numbers. It is not uncommon for wind gusts to top more than 50 mph. We have tornadoes, torrential rains, blizzards, hail that is measured in feet, severe drought and dirt storms in which rolling walls of dirt block out the sun and reduce visibility to almost zero. Since 2011 the Texas Panhandle has experienced one of the most severe droughts since the 1930’s and although we have had a little moisture this spring it has not been nearly enough and the land remains parched and dry. This week has continued the fight between winter and summer that we have seen repeated throughout the month of April with temperatures warming to almost summer like heat only to fall below freezing a few days later. Yesterday it was in the 90’s and tomorrow’s highs will remain in the 40’s. I think perhaps it has been these temperature extremes along with the prolonged drought that has stripped spring of its color and I long for warmer weather and colorful spring flowers.
Sometimes life can seem as dry and colorless as the Texas Panhandle during a drought. We feel continually buffeted by storms and emotional extremes that dry up our reserves and weigh heavy on our heart. And although we may have a brief reprieve in which the weather warms and we can kick off our shoes and relax, the recess does not last long enough to grow or even gain strength before we are once again blasted by the cold winds of despondence and despair. What do we do when we’re downcast and discouraged; when we have nothing to offer – no blooms, no fruit, no increase; no offering?
We remember! I remember all the many seasons in which my yard was ablaze with color. I remember the years of rain and abundance. I remember blessings to numerous to count and I remember to give thanks for the past as well as the present. Throughout the pages of scripture the saints of God remember His mighty works and they are strengthened by the remembrance of His deliverance. So when we have no blooms, when we don’t even have the hope of fruit, we can remember and be encouraged that the One who was faithful is faithful still. The rains will come again, the flowers and fruit will bloom and produce in abundance, and the thirsty will be satisfied. Even if it doesn’t rain this side of heaven I will still rejoice in the remembrance of my blessings and the God of my salvation!