I’ve always claimed to have a black thumb. Last year I got married and received several different types of annuals as a wedding shower gift. I thought to myself, “This is it! This is my chance to show off how domesticated I am! I’ll adorn our garden with flowers and everyone who drives by, will know that these new kids in town really have their act together.”
We got married at the end of May. I’d say by July 4th, everything was brown, shriveled, and decaying. I killed each and every single one of them. In the matter of a few weeks.
So fast forward to today. One year later and I’ve given it another try. I went to the nursery myself, picked out a plethora of different annuals, a few tomato and pepper plants, and came home to decorate our flower bed. As I’ve watered them, weeded, when I’ve found the time, and taken some pride in the fact that this year is much better than last year – God shows me His love.
My garden was doing well with the exception of one yellow gerber daisy plant. After about a month, all the petals fell off and I was left with a bunch of stems sticking out of the flower pot. Weeks went by. My husband and I mowed the lawn, watered all the flowers, including our de-funked looking gerber daisy and I just kept putting off doing anything with it. I was planning on throwing it in the compost for our worm friends in the back.
Until one day, I was leaving to go to work – looking to the right before I hit the road, and I saw yellow petals again. There was another blossom. The angels in heaven were singing hallelujah – I swear it.
God brings life from death. This is what he says about it in Isaiah 61:1-3,
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
The theme of beauty from ashes has been written all over this year for us, for our church, and for our community. Our world is so broken, there is so much hardship, and flowers die. But God knows it all. Nothing gets past Him. This includes your struggles, pain, grief, and hopelessness, you see as wilted dead stem, God can and will bring new life from it, if you let him. In fact, he has this to say about hardship,
Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2,3.
Expect trials, but know that they produce. His love endures, whether we see or feel that he is watering and caring for us or not.
So I say, let’s do this thing God. I can give you everything in me that seems like it’s dead and worthless and you will create a testimony, a new blossom. You can give me flowers to take care of – or people who are broken. They are yours anyway. You promise redemption, and I want to see it through. So I’m not giving up on my flowers. You aren’t giving up on your people.