And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to garden. To get my hands in the dirt and work the soil. I often enjoy the benefits of my labor with pretty posies in my front and back yard.
I had a beautiful rose bush that I planted at my house right after I bought it and moved in about 13 year ago. I hand picked it for its color and fragrance. I wish I could convey to you how much I loved this rose bush.
It was bright and so delightfully sweet smelling.
Then, about 11 years after being planted and producing the most luscious blooms I’ve ever seen, it struggled to come back after a harsh winter. A winter that brought with it several days of below zero temps and wind chill. I babied it, but no matter what I did, the struggling small stems that came from the ground would turn black and die off. One year after this, I faced the fact that it was gone and not coming back. Again, anyone who knows me, knows that I am fiercely loyal and have a hard time giving up on anything……
knew it was time. I got out my shovel
and spent loads of time digging up the huge root out of the ground and threw it
away. It was completely dead.
Then, last year…..I saw small sprouts coming up from the ground. I was SO EXCITED! It appeared that it had regenerated itself, most likely, from a small piece of root I missed while digging it up. I decided to show some TLC to the young one all summer long. There were no blooms, but I was hopeful that it would only be a matter of time. I was willing to wait for the next season. I cut it back in the late fall, and was sure within a matter of months, I would have new rose buds.
So…I waited, and I watched. And sure enough, I saw lots of tightly wrapped rose buds beginning to form as the spring time wore on. Then, I saw one beginning to pop. I thought…hmmm…..that looks a little different than it did before. So, I thought, I would wait to see what I had.
I’ll tell you what I had! I had a completely different rose bush! I went from a beautiful coral tea rose that had layers and layers of folds…… to this dark pink bloom with very little to it.
Let me tell you, I wasn’t exactly happy once the shock wore off. I was very confused, and to be honest, a little upset. It wasn’t the same. It was completely different!
Boy, God sure has a sense of humor, doesn’t He? A friend said I might have had a hybrid rosebush and this might be one of the original grafted strands that it started out as. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know that God has spoken to me through this bush. It wasn’t burning like when He spoke to Moses long ago, but every time I come home or leave, I can’t help but see the bush. And just like that bush, I most certainly am not the same person that I was long ago. And I am willing to bet that neither are you!
Think of Job. He lost so much, WITH God’s approval. He was tested in a mighty way. He lost his children, his family, his animals, and with that, his riches……even his wife told him to curse God and die! Regardless, he stated that the Lord had given….and that the Lord had taken away……blessed be HIS name! (Job ). That takes incredible strength and I admire it. Later on, his friends were trying to tell him that he had done something wrong and that God was cursing him because of it. Job replied to them that “though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job ). Again, wow! It’s like Job completely had his rose bush of life uprooted and tossed into the flames. And if you read the entire book, in the end, he is blessed for his faithfulness to God. He was given a new ‘rose bush,’ more children, riches, etc.
Sometimes all has to be stripped away to get back to our original, yet, totally different state. It's not exactly going back to what we were, and it is certainly not returning to what we once had, but it is getting back to what you started out with, in a whole new way.
He does the same with us. We may lose those that we love. Our bodies will betray us, and perhaps doctors will not be able to give us either the answers we want or any answers at all. Our situations and circumstances of life will change. In the process, we change.
I don’t have all of the answers, but I know the One who does. Just like chaff blows in the wind, leaving the precious wheat kernel behind, we need to let our chaff blow away as well. Sometimes, we hold on too tightly to the things He wants us to let go of. Things that are done….Things that will not or cannot change. Things best left to blow away, instead of being grasped.
He has given all to us, and He has the right to allow it to be taken away. He is both the Giver and the Gift. Let us not forget the greatest thing that He gave us was Himself. We are given many good things in this life, but He needs to be our #1 treasure.
I am confused as to why awful things happen, but the only simple explanation I can come up with is that we live in a fallen world where things will go horribly and tragically wrong at times. This does not mean that He does not care. In fact, you might wonder, how could God say that He loves you when horrible things happen? It is true, though. He loves you with all that He’s got, and that’s an awful lot! He loves us enough to let us go through the refining process, through pain and confusion. I believe that when we weep, He weeps too.
In Luke 22:31, Jesus told His disciple that Satan had asked to sift the disciples just as wheat is sifted. If you are not aware, there is a great thrashing that takes place in this process! In this life, we can expect to be sifted……thrashed.......tested.
I am positive that you all have had a thrashing of your own in your lives. Just like plants that have been through a storm, our stems bend, break off, and we might grow a little crooked afterwards.
Today, I'm reminded of one of my 'thrashings.' This day marks a 10 year anniversary of losing a special family that I was friends with. I have a lot of anniversaries and days that I wish would not roll around each year because of different significant memories that come up with each of those days. It’s learning to go on….to find a new normal. To make peace with the fact that it will never be as it once was. The fact that we are still here reminds me that we all have a purpose in our existence. It's about choosing to let go, to move on in Hope. Hope ~ not just for a meaningful existence with great joy ~ but also a hope that we will be made completely new again in His presence some day. Let's look for joy in this season, while we patiently wait for the next. What a day that will be!