March 19, 2019

While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

The cherry blossoms are coming!

The National Park Service’s National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. is loaded with some of our nation’s most iconic commemorative buildings and statues—presidential-related ones like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument (which is supposed to re-open soon, after some modernizing and security construction), plus war- and military-related kinds like the WWII, Korean and Vietnam memorials. It’s a great place to walk any time of the year, but in the spring, it’s the cherry blossoms everyone comes to see.

The majority of the approximately 3,800 trees can be found near the Tidal Basin and along the shoreline of East Potomac Park, with scattered clusters elsewhere on the Mall and around the city. Their pink and yellow flowers of several varieties put on a gorgeous display, from the moment the buds open and even as they shed their petals in drifting showers. To walk among them is a lovely experience (I haven’t done that in D.C., but I have many times in Newark’s Branch Brook Park, which has the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the country).

In my Life Lessons from the National Parks book, I wrote a little bit about the trees’ history. Read more here.

D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival begins March 20 and runs through April 14, but what people really want to know is: when’s the best time to see the most blooms?

That’s hard to predict, according to the Park Service. It defines the peak bloom date as when 70% of the Yoshino cherry trees pop, and that depends on the weather. The usual peak is the last week in March through the first week in April, but warmer or cooler temperatures can push the timeline up to 2 weeks before or after that period.

This year, Park Service horticulturists say the blossoms are right on time, with a peak bloom of April 3-6. If you plan to go, you’ll have plenty of company–hundreds of thousands visit our nation’s capital then.

Right on time…The Bible declares that’s what can be said of God. He sent His Son to be born at the right time (Galatians 4:4), and Jesus began His earthly ministry at the right time (Mark 1:15), died at the right time as a substitute payment for our sins (Romans 5:6, 1 Timothy 2:6), and will come back again at the right time (1 Timothy 6:14-15).

So..if He’s right on time for the big things, will He be on time when we need Him? Yes, says Psalm 46:1. God is “a very present help in trouble,” proven, ready and reliable, just as He showed up at the right moment time and time again in Scriptural accounts. I like the way “He’s an On Time God,” sung by Dottie Peoples, puts it: “He may not come when you want Him, but He’ll be there right on time.” As Christian hip hop artist Aaron Cole raps in “Right On Time,” “He will make your heavy light…His love is always right on time.”

Right on time…that’s our God. Not only once a year, but always.

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