The book of Hosea ends with a simple invitation: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God.” And if we take God up on that invitation, it tells us, in rich imagery, what the results will be: flourishing and blossoming. If we return to the Lord, we will become all that we were intended to be. A flower’s entire purpose is to blossom. It is the culmination of a long and arduous process—and a beautiful one at that.
Years ago we planted lilies by our mailbox. When we planted them, we knew that it would take a while for them to bud and bloom and blossom. For months we would go to the mailbox to get the mail and see nothing, just the barren landscape of winter. But then one day, suddenly it seemed, the green sprouts poked their heads out of the ground and we were able to watch them grow each day. It was the first hint we’d had that something was going on under the surface of the soil all of those days and weeks and months. But once those green shoots finally appeared, the anticipation began to grow, until the day when they finally opened their heads to the sun and blossomed into all they were intended to be. It wasn’t until then that we were able to fully see and fully appreciate their true beauty.
And Hosea promises us the same. Although we are living at a time and in a season where it is hard to imagine anything beautiful blooming or blossoming, God is still at work silently, beneath the surface of our lives, growing us and preparing us to bloom and to blossom when the spring finally arrives. He promises us that if we will return to the Lord our God—not just once or twice, but always again—we too will see a day when we become all that he intended for us to be. We too will bud and blossom and flourish. We too will show the world the beauty and the majesty that we were meant to reflect. It is what we were created for.
Which begs the question: What does returning to the Lord your God look like for you these days? How is God inviting you to become all that you were intended to be? And where in your life are you seeing a blossoming? Where in your life is the Lord growing you into something beautiful and alive and vibrant?
Thank you, O Lord, that blossoming is exactly what you had in mind for us when you breathed us into being. You did not have to make us that way, but thank you that you did. Help us, O Lord, to return to you each and every day, so that we might become all that we were intended to be—beautiful reflections of your life, love, and creativity. Amen.