Monday, June 29, 2015

Like a Flower in the Field

The blooms of a China Rose tree are beautiful, but they don't last long.
Spring is beautiful. Each day, as spring takes hold, we can see buds swelling, tender green leaves emerging, and with each sprinkle of spring rain, an aroma sweeter than the finest French perfume. It is a season of new beginnings and abundant promise.

We know from watching spring after spring over the course of many years, this tender season will soon give way to summer, summer will wind down into autumn, and once again, a blanket of snow will cover what was once green.

The turning of the seasons is a perfect picture of both the brevity and the sweetness of our lives here on this earth.

As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades." (1 Peter 1:24 NLT)

The China Rose tree is one of the first shrubs to bloom each spring. When it blooms, it is literally covered with delicate, crepe-like pink blossoms. The flowers only last a few days, but what glorious days they are! Once the shrub is done blooming, there is nothing to recommend it in the landscape - no interesting shape or attractive foliage. In fact, it is a shrub that goes unnoticed if it is not blooming.

One spring day several years ago, as I was driving to church, I noticed a China Rose shrub in full bloom - a glorious symphony of delicate pink. The next time I drove past, less than a week later, it was plain green. The beautiful blossoms had already dropped to the ground.

Is a flower any less beautiful because it is perishable? Certainly not - in fact, if anything, it is more beautiful, more amazing, and more appreciated.

I remember well both of my grandmothers, steadfast, faithful women of God. When I was young, it seemed as if they had lived, and would live, forever. While they will certainly live forever - it is not on this earth. They are now gone and their memory is precious - like petals of a China Rose tree.

Do you ever wonder what you will leave behind? When you are only a memory on this earth? With all my heart, I want to do something that counts, something that makes a difference.

At the same time, I know that God has made me for a unique purpose. I can only be what He has made me to be. Anything that I try to be beyond that can only amount to nothing. To be fully alive in Him, fulfilling His purpose for my life, is everything.

If that means one glorious day of being in full bloom - so be it. May I bloom happily for a day.

There is an old saying, "bloom where you are planted." How often have you felt that you wanted to bloom somewhere else? That you were a different kind of plant, entirely? From our physical appearance to our finances, our career or whatever situation we may find ourselves in, we usually want something else.

Paul said, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6 NIV)

Oh that we may be content, to bloom for a single day like the China Rose tree, to simply be what God has intended for us, and in that surrender to bloom our hearts out - even as we know we are perishing, our bloom is fading, and with it, all the glorious beauty, that we have come to know.

There is a daily living and dying that holds us tightly in its grip. The eternal sings in our hearts while mortality nips at our feet. "While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life." (2 Corinthians 5:4 NLT)

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