WALK BY FAITH DEVOTIONAL – MARCH 20, 2013
Life never promised us a rose garden. Neither did God. My life can attest to that. My life before Jesus Christ came into my life, and my life ever since. My life has not only not been a rose garden. My life has been more full of thorns than anything else. One thorn more than any other. The thorn of loss and rejection. A thorn that has poked, prodded, and pierced my skin and heart so many times that I have sometimes forgotten the blood of Jesus Christ that covers me – simply because I have gotten so caught up in the blood that has come from the thorns.
Just weeks ago, I took pruning shears to the rose bushes in front of my house and walloped most of the branches off because I was in such desperate need of landscaping. I was so disgusted with my out-of-control, no-budget/lack-of-landscaping/not-enough-time-or-desire-to beautify condition of my yard (and rose bushes) that I just attacked the bushes to get rid of them rather than wait for the roses that would one day bloom again.
In reality, I was more caught up in the pain of catching my hands and legs on the thorns than I was in preserving the roses. It is only now when I consider the thorns of my life, walking with the Lord through yet another gruelingly challenging piece of my journey, that I remember the rose. The rose among so very many thorns.
When I was a little girl, my father planted a rose bush right in front of my bedroom window. The same father who abandoned me, and took my family along with him, about 20 years ago when I dragged a skeleton out of my family’s closet of secrets. Nearly 20 years later now, with the hurt from the loss of my family just as fresh and piercing as ever, reminding me of my ever-present thorn, I still remember the bush. Funny how I still remember the bush despite the years of thorns.
But such is the case with roses. They are so beautiful, so magnificent, and so extra special because they rise up amid the sharp, blunt, irony of the danger, the threat, the harshness, the cutting potential – and reality – of thorns.
I used to love roses. I loved seeing them. I loved the many colors of them. I loved receiving them from someone who cared. Not so long ago, I received a handful of baby’s breath. With no flowers. No roses. Just what normally would be filled with roses. A reminder of the rarity of roses. I don’t think of roses so much anymore. Truthfully, I think more about thorns. I suppose that’s what happens when one runs across – and into – them as much as I have. Yet amid a life of thorns, amid the endless, countless, run-in with thorns, I do remember the rose.
I used to play the soprano recorder as a child. One of my favorite songs was “The Rose.” I even played it at my aunt’s wedding. It was a special song to me. I don’t remember the words, but I remember the point. There was a rose. Amid everything else. A rose. And it rose up. It shined. It appeared. It stood out. It stood above. There it was. Despite the thorns. And it came in the spring, didn’t it? At least in my memory of the song, it came after winter. It came after the white, the cold, the bitter, the dead, the barrenness of winter. The rose.
And herein is my reminder. A reminder for me, and a reminder for you. There is a rose. A single rose. A rose that does rise above all else. A rose that has risen. A rose that came up from the dead. A rose that was resurrected from what seemed to be the worst of the worst of the worst. The death of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t His death that has given us life for those of us who place our faith in Him. It was, and is, His resurrection 0 in the midst of a world of thorns. And the eternal life we are promised through repentance, through faith, and through a life committed to following Him. New life. Life in Christ. The Christ who rose from the dead. My rose.
When I look back at my 45 years, truthfully, I see more challenges, more tears, more hurdles, more obstacles, more sadness, more loss and so much more, than almost anything else. Yes, that’s what I see when I look at all the thorns. So very many thorns. I look back and I see an almost endless winter. But this is not all.
I also see what rises up above all else. What stands above the rest. What remains, and will be, forever, despite all these years I have run into the thorns.
I see Jesus. My rose. My rose among the thorns.
More precious than anything. More precious than anyone. My hope. My light. My love. My glory. The light of the world. And the light of my life.
The reality is my life has not been what I would have desired – at all. Compared to so many others in the world, it has been a blessed life. But in reality, for me, and perhaps for some of those who know of it, it has been a pretty hard one. But I can say this above all else.
I have Jesus. And through Him I have eternal life. And even in the darkness, even as I walk through the valley of death’s shadow, even as darkness takes over more and more of this world, even as I hack down the branches of so many thorns, or simply stumble into them, or simply get poked, prodded, and pierced in the heart yet again by the thorn above all other thorns in my life, I remember this.
I have been given the greatest gift in the world.
My forever rose.
My precious Jesus.
And though so many people have, and enjoy, what I would have wanted in my own life, so many people have the pleasures that will only last for a season, or for some seasons.
But I, I have Jesus. I have the greatest gift of all.
And how I long to share my rose with the world.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20 KJV
When was the last time you looked past the thorns and remembered the Savior? When was the last time you looked past winter and remembered the rose? When was the last time you shared with a friend, or a stranger, a co-worker, a neighbor, or anyone at all, THE ROSE?
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