For more than forty years there has been a small picture of a rose that I have kept in my Bible. It’s a pink rose bud. On the back, the friend who gave it to me, copied the following poem by Gregory:
It is only a tiny rosebud, a flower of God’s design.
But I cannot unfold the petals with these clumsy hands of mine.
For the secret of unfolding flowers is not known to such as I.
The flower God opens so sweetly, in my hands would fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud, this flower of God’s design,
Then why do I think I have wisdom to unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in Him for His leading each moment of everyday.
I’ll look to Him for His guidance each step of life’s pilgrim way.
The pathway that lies before me, my Heavenly Father knows.
So I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments, just as He unfolds the rose.
There have been instances over these forty years when the path forward seemed too hard. I was nervous at the prospects of what lay ahead. Sometimes I would try to make a different plan from the one God had clearly shown, daring to think He would approve of a variation. I felt rather proud and even smug at times about the brilliance of my ideas. God never fell for it; not once. Each time I had to crawl back, feeling absolutely humiliated at what I had done. Each time I had to reveal the battle scars I had gained in attempting to go my own way. Each time He picked me up, poured His healing oils of love and forgiveness into my wounds. Each time I was renewed in gladness and sweet peace. Each time I told myself that I would never plan my own way again. Each time there was a next time.
How loving beyond human words are the ways of our Heavenly Father. How sweet His forgiveness. How powerful His grace. How pure His love. Amazing. Always amazing.
One more thing about the picture of the rose that I keep in my Bible. It has been burned around the edges. My friend wrote: “The burnt edges only enhance the beauty.” How like the grace of our heavenly Father. No matter the battle scars acquired by our own disobedience, He continues to mold us into the lovely likeness of His Son.
Never fear His plans and never shrink back when you have got it all wrong. Think upon His everlasting love and remember, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8