A while back my father came to visit me. I had had a total hysterectomy and I was at home recovering. Before his visit, he asked my husband what he should bring me. My sweet husband recommended roses. Being the agriculturist that he is, he brought me a rose bush. He was beyond proud of his offering. It was a double red knock-out rose bush. He worked for a week to find the perfect one for me. When he pulled the beautiful flower out of his car, I was overwhelmed with joy and pride.
There it was; a gift I had never earned, worked for, or deserved. It was solely out of his own love for me that he brought this beautiful treasure for me to delight in.
During his visit, he taught me how to properly prune back the overgrown rose bushes I currently owned. I had let them get out of control. I guess I had wanted them to have a fuller, more lavish appearance. The truth was, they were unkempt, more than half dead and rotted. Everyone but me, knew they were not in good shape. Who was I fooling? He showed me how to find the healthiest parts and how to cut back to those places. He instructed me at what angle to prune and when.
One of the things he taught me was to cut back after a bloom has fully blossomed. I had always watched my mom bring in roses that had bloomed. This was always such a gift of color to the house. I never knew there was another purpose to her flower giving. He explained to me that in cutting the blossomed flower back, it not only gave the gift of color and beauty to someone else, it gave room for the rose to multiply in a more healthy, productive way. What a revelation that was! In order for more to grow, living parts had to be cut back. I had left blooms on for so long, again hoping it would give some impression of health and vitality.
Soon after all was planted and properly pruned, my dad left. As the afternoon progressed, my mind lingered back to the rose bush and the lessons I had learned.
Soon after, as my husband I traveled to a meeting, we discussed the day we had spent with my father. It dawned on me why the rose meant so much to me: the gift of the rose was symbolic of God’s love for me. I never earned it. I don’t deserve it. I can’t repay it. He gave it to me out of His love for me, not anything I could have worked for, but simply for me to delight in.
The revelations kept washing over me the more we talked. This perfect gift, chosen just for me, is also meant to be shared with others. When blossoms come and fully bloom, I can snip them off, and share them with others; much like this realization I am sharing with you today. When I am willing to cut out the overgrown and dead parts, the parts of my life that I have found victory in, and quit trying to put on this facade, the simple, healthy beauty will remain.
His radiant gift He has given me, in all of its glory, will remain. My job is to water it with the Living Water, provide it the Light of the World, and as it grows and blossoms, I am to prune it back and share the beauty with others.
This is the gift the Lord has made, I will rejoice and delight in it!