Thursday, March 30, 2017

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My friend, Tom, has a taste for some of the beautiful things in life like great food for example. In fact he's a wonderful chef. I think I'm still wearing some of his culinary creations on my body. Tom also really appreciates nature including plants. I have been fascinated to hear him tell of some of the incredible creations of God that live in that world of plants and flowers that I don't know much about. The last time we saw him, he told us about a flower called the Night Blooming Cyrus which he said he's only seen bloom once. That's because they don't do much when folks are awake. In fact they only bloom for 2 hours a day, he said, and that's from midnight till' 2 A.M. But for those who stay up late or set their alarm there is the splendor of a richly colored flower that measures about six inches in bloom. It's beautiful late at night.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Night Blooming."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians, Chapter 12. Now 2 Corinthians in many ways is Paul's most personal letter. He struggles with this chronic physical ailment here in Chapter 12 that really had brought a dark cloud over his life. Listen to what he says in verses 8 and 9 for example. He says, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.' But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Then Paul says, "Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses." Now look at this: first he's pleading for it to go away, now he's grateful he's got it. Now his suffering has been a dark night in his life, but something happened in his night. He says, "So that Christ's power may rest on me." Then in verse 10 he says, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

He's learned something about life's hard times. They can birth a beauty that could never come out if it were day. How? Well, you're dark time strips you of a lot of self-stuff. It strips you of your self-reliance, your self-confidence, your self-promoting. And as life careens more and more out of your control, you start to melt before God. You are no longer standing before Him in some kind of partnership. No, you're melted on your knees before Him and you've got nothing to contribute to the answer. And there in that season of forced dependency and humility something unexpected happens. You feel the powerful hands of Jesus picking you up and carrying you, and you experience Jesus loving you in ways you never felt when things were good.

And as you face the unimaginable, the unbearable with His strength taking over, you taste the power of God as you never could when the power of you was working and you start to bloom. There's a new beauty in Him that comes only through the night. Your pain has given you a new tenderness, a new compassion. You have a deep peace that is known only by those who have walked through the valley with Jesus. And there is this unexplainable radiance of one who has been tapping into the central power of God to make it through each new day.

Like that flower my friend told me about, you have suddenly developed midnight beauty...the kind that can only come when it's dark.