I was looking at the flowers out on my front porch, the ones who are most exposed to the elements. Their colors are as vibrant as the other flowers that are closer in to the protection from the house. But they are standing erect, straight and tall, not like the others which flow over the sides of the pot in a soft, beautiful way. I know why they do this. They have adapted to the wind that we get here in Colorado. They have built up a strength and a near tolerance to it.
Made me think of us humans. Left on our own out in the elements of life, we have two choices. The winds of difficulty can either break us down or make us stronger. Humanly, if we are to survive, we need to put up a certain guard to make ourselves less vulnerable to all that life throws at us. We stand erect and tall. We will not let the wind have its way with us. But that can result in us losing our softness, our vulnerability towards others, our ability to trust and take risks and love with all that we are. Unless…
Unless we are planted close to the house. Our hiding place. Our refuge. Our shelter. Our Jesus. Like my plants close to the house on my front and back porches, they are protected, not from the wind, but from having to face the wind on their own. Their strength comes not from themselves, but from the home protecting them. Hmmmmm….sounds like a good lesson. If I’m staying close to Jesus, I will still feel the effects of the winds of life, but I won’t fear the wind overtaking me. I will be able to stay soft, pliable because I am not relying on my own strength to get me through the situation, but on the strength of the one whom I call HOME. When my fear of facing the elements on my own is gone, I am free to show my full colors with a softness that comes from complete trust in the one who holds me in the shelter of his hand.
I am not a botanist, but I recall being told that when pruning roses, you cut back to a place on the stem where there are five leaves. That is all I know about roses and hopefully that is correct…. A lot of color left those plants, but the old stuff had to come off before the new growth could truly flourish. Another lesson we can learn from flowers.
I thought about how God must feel when he pulls out his pruning shears to beautify our lives. We know its good for us, but dang it hurts! What I think we forget is that it hurts Him too. Think of the phrase, “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.” Many of us heard that when our parents were about to spank us, and few of us believed it til we became parents ourselves. But I’d be reminded of the truth of that as I would snip away. I’d be cutting the branches, but at the same time, I was getting scratched and poked and bloodied, too. I did it because I knew what needed to be done to bring lasting beauty to the roses, not because it felt good. Which it definitely didn’t. God prunes for our good, but I believe he hurts in the process, too.