TITLE: Life in Radiant Bloom (Part 1) updated 12/22/15
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Have you ever had a God Moment, when you knew that God was speaking to you?
Some people might think I’m crazy, but I know God speaks to me. I don’t hear Him audibly. He moves my soul. I can be in the middle of anything when suddenly, I feel overwhelmed by His presence…Ohhh, here it comes, a God Moment.
It happened when I invited my friend and her mother, Sato-san, to dinner at my Tokyo apartment. Sato-san was an orchid enthusiast who raised champion orchids and traveled to remote parts of the world, like the Amazon, to study them.
After dinner, I decided to get some advice from the expert gardener. “What do you think of my Cosmos plants?” I was a little embarrassed to show Sato-san the pathetic potted plants on my balcony. All the leaves had fallen off; the branches were almost black and the twigs were dry. I was ready to throw them away.
“Bring me a rubbish bag.” She began to radically snap away most of the branches with the twist of her wrists, then throw them into the bag.
Her daughter gasped with concern. “Mom, aren’t you stripping away too much?!”
“Don’t worry. You have to cut away what is dead to stimulate growth” Confidence exuded from Sato-san’s reply. “Keep watering the plants the way you’ve been doing and they’ll bloom nicely.”
Suddenly, I felt the familiar sensation of being enveloped by God’s presence. It felt like I had no body. This meant one thing. I was having a God Moment.
God told me, Ask her, how much do you prune?
So I asked her, “How much do you prune?”
Without missing a beat, she replied, “Eighty to ninety percent.”
My soul exclaimed, Eighty to ninety percent! God, Is this how much you have to prune me in order for me to bloom?
This truth stung. God had just taken me through a good eighty to ninety percent prune by removing me from a career at a well-known international investment firm. I had thought I could be a Christ-like example to colleagues, but the work was so demanding that it left me spiritually, emotionally, and physically drained.
So God lopped off my branches that weren’t bearing fruit for Him, in accordance with John 15:1. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” My eighty to ninety percent prune meant that I had to quit the job.
Sato-san’s key instruction to me was, “Keep watering the plants the way you’ve been doing and they’ll bloom nicely.” God gives us similar instructions, Keep doing good and you’ll bloom nicely. You’ll reap a harvest (Galatians 6:9).
Today, I reflect on how I mistook the Cosmos plants as almost dead. I nearly tossed them out. If I had done so, my friends and I would not have experienced the most magnificent bloom a few months later. It wasn’t an ordinary bloom. The blossoms were so brilliant that friends, who gathered weekly at my apartment to learn hula dancing to Christian music, marveled that they had never seen such strong, lush Cosmos plants jam-packed with vibrant flowers. And certainly not in little pots. As soon as the women entered my apartment they would head straight for the Cosmos flowers to “ooh” and “ah” over them.
The Cosmos flowers usually bloom in hues of pink, purple, or white. Because the plant has thin, long, delicate stems, the flowers easily bob in the breeze. Normally, you can see the Cosmos’ wiry stems whenever you look at the plant. But the bloom on my Cosmos flowers was so plentiful that you couldn’t see the stems!
Isn’t it just like God to draw me closer to Him through the example of a Cosmos flower? According to Merriam-Webster, cosmos means an orderly harmonious systematic universe. God pruned a chaotic work environment from me, and replaced it with harmony with Him. He could have chosen any flower. Maybe a Tulip or Carnation. But no, He chose the Cosmos.
Through the confident hands of Sato-san, the master gardener, the struggling plants were set free in a magnificent bloom.
Through the masterful hands of God, the cutting away of pursuits that aren’t bearing fruit for Him results in a life in radiant bloom.
As I gazed at the gorgeous flowers…Ohhh, here it comes, a God Moment. The best part. God foretold, You have a fabulous blooming season to look forward to.
This truth is euphoric. Since God pruned me, my life has been rich with His blooms. This book is a miraculous bloom. I would never have thought, in all the cosmos, that I could encourage others toward Christ through writing.
God has allowed me to facilitate many blooms of salvation. He places a high value on the unfading beauty of eternal blooms, impacting others forever.
Recently, two friends, who didn’t know each other, were diagnosed with stage four cancer. I contacted them to offer my assistance with whatever they needed. Since they couldn’t eat much, I brought them mostly Almond Float; a mixture of fruits in fruit syrup with almond flavored milk pudding, and poi; mashed taro. I sat with them and just listened to whatever they wanted to talk about.
While driving to their homes for the first time, I asked God, Should I ask them if they know you as their Savior?
God replied, I will let you know what to do when you see them.
At the first girlfriend’s house, after catching up on each other’s lives, God said, Ask her. So I asked Nalani, “Do you have a faith?”
She replied, “No, but I’ve been thinking that I should.”
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