Roses And Battle Wounds

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

Read more at Poem : Rosebud, a flower of God’s design

The Landlord’s Responsibilities

Most people have had the experience of renting a home before they could purchase one. The renter is expected to make good decisions about keeping up the home. They are not to destroy it. They are to take good care of it. If something goes wrong, like the roof needs repairing or the plumbing needs fixing, the owner of the home is responsible to take care of those needs. The renter is like a steward, keeping the home in good condition; the owner is the one who makes the ultimate decisions for the upkeep of the home.

It’s the same with our spiritual lives. When we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, we are acknowledging that God has now purchased us with the blood of His Son. We now belong to Him and it is His responsibility to make the ultimate decisions for our lives. We who belong to Him have the responsibility of being good stewards. We learn what the owner wants and we take steps to stay within what He wills for us.

If major repairs need to be made, like the roof of our understanding gets blown away by a tornado of unprecedented problems in our lives, it’s up to God, as our owner, to repair the damage with His love, restoring peace while easing away frustrations. Isn’t that wonderful news? We are not responsible for cleaning up the debris of pain and confusion that blows across our paths by any storms of life. Our Father has promised to repair all the damage and to clean up the hurt, mopping up all the pain that floods our hearts.

He has made a promise to all His stewards. It’s found in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Is that not the most amazing promise by the most amazing Landlord of our lives? Why would we even attempt to repair our own pain or clean up our own confusion? Why would we dare to draw up architectural plans for all our tomorrows when the Master Builder has already logged in the blueprints to give us a hope and a future?

When we try to take on responsibilities of the owner of our lives, we are destined for certain disaster, but when we look to the Master Landlord to take care of all repair and remodeling, we are then destined to be made into something more beautiful than our dreams could imagine and much stronger than any storm that bursts into our days.


When Life Knocks Us Sideways

Those of you who regularly read my blog will know that I put out a new entry every Friday.  I missed this Friday due to unforeseen circumstances that would not allow me the time needed to simply sit down and write.  Several of you have noticed; you have emailed or texted to ask if all is well.  I thank you for noticing and for sharing your concern.  You have touched me with your expressions of care.

We’ve all had days or weeks — months even — when life takes over our schedules in ways we do not desire.  Events happen that move us out of our routine.  We are pushed by the unexpected into a realm of anxiety.  Such has been the case for me this week.  Several events happened all at once and they wouldn’t go away!  I felt a bit knocked over sideways, like a football player when they’re running toward the goal and all of a sudden they’re tackled to the ground.  They just didn’t see it coming.

Unexpected and unwanted events happen to us all.  When they do, we can be placed into a spin of a myriad of emotion.  Questions begin to take over all other reasonable thoughts in our minds. Will things turn out alright?  What will be happening tomorrow?  Will I feel hopeful again? Will this sinkhole of hurt ever spit me back up onto solid ground?  Am I doomed to feel this way forever?  Plaguing thoughts can push out our hope and keep our wheels spinning in a mire of stress, taking us no where.

Events of life can seemingly take on a life of its very own, ruling our time, holding us in a grip of tremendous pressure.  We wonder if and when it will end.  Does this describe the results of unwanted events that have come into your own lives at various times?  No one can escape unwanted, hurtful, stress filled days, but wonderfully, for the child of God, no one has to remain in the clutches of such tension.

God’s Word, our Father’s own love letter to each of us, is filled with words of great encouragement.  Our Father’s words are more than meaningful words on paper; they are living words that reach down, bringing lasting comfort, lifting broken spirits, mending shattered dreams, soothing the grieving heart.  Our Father watches our every step.  He knows there will be times of difficulty and suffering.  Does He merely watch — knowing but doing nothing?  Oh, no!  He watches and begins pouring in His balm of love and hope and peace.  He never leaves us in good times or bad; He scoops us up into His strong arms, whispers His own love into our waiting ears, bringing hope that nothing else can bring.  This is our Father.

My own shattered peace has come to know another peace that no other could bring; only my Father can love so perfectly, heal so quickly, and whisper sweet, living words of hope.  I especially have loved this verse in Jeremiah 29:11 during many times of unrest in my life.  “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  That’s the God we serve, the One who is capable and desiring always, to breathe into our worlds of confusion, bringing His peace, taking our hands, leading us through to peaceful streams and greener pastures.

Thank you, my dear Father.  There is none like You.  Thank you.