The Last Flower

09/12/2012 13:27
A few weeks ago, we celebrated the 6th birthday of Refresh! “What’s Refresh?” you ask. Refresh is a support group I’ve run in our church for Mums of children with learning difficulties. That birthday was a very happy one. It was filled with laughter, fun, games, music, presents, awards, birthday cake, 12 Mums, 1 Dad, 1 child and one 7 week old baby.  But there was a catch! Its 6th b’day celebration was also its final program. Does that sound unusual? Yes, it was our very last program.
Endings usually are bringers of sadness. And so, there were a few bittersweet moments for me that day. But I have to add that the predominant emotion for me was not sadness but a deep elation. My heart sang from start to end of that day. In fact as I look back on the 22nd of Nov 2012, it is with a deep well of joy stirring within me. Joy in being entrusted with this group. Joy in making many wonderful friendships through Refresh. Joy in watching God at work. Joy in sharing with others.
There was joy in being used of God – even in minute ways. Joy in the connectedness we enjoy when we people of like mind meets together. Something that came out of the games we had that day was the sense of isolation that Mums and Dads of special needs kids go through. Many have felt judged by a world that has no idea what they endure. When children behave badly society often judge their parents.
And so, in addition to the difficulties these Mums endure 24/7, there was the burden of being judged and misunderstood. Coming together therefore was meaningful – a place where they knew we empathised with them. A place they felt safe. The truth is that many of these parents are doing an amazing job. And are heroes and heroines of the day.
Rachel – one of my faithful helpers at Refresh this year brought us a gorgeous bunch of flowers. It was just what was needed for our party table. It added to the air of festivity. When I brought the flowers home, I continued to enjoy the sight of that gorgeous posy. It was bursting with colour – oranges, reds, whites, pinks, purples…. yes all of that and more. As time went on, some of the flowers started to wilt – as of course flowers do. So I removed the wilted ones from the vase. After several days, a few more started to droop. I removed those too.
One by one, the withered flowers were taken out. All except for one proud beautiful flower which stood fresh. Tall, glad and unfading. It lasted. Two whole weeks later it was still standing. Very unusual since most flowers I’ve received haven’t lasted for more than a week. Two weeks was twice as long. Wow! Good on you gorgeous flower! Not only did it last but it was the prettiest of them all. It was a beautiful soft yellow outlined in an amazing red. I’ve gazed at it many times over the last few weeks. And found much pleasure in it.
Endurance. That’s what that flower taught me.
Sometimes life is difficult and we feel like giving up don’t we? The bills pile up. The world sags. Difficulty pokes its ugly head in our faces. Sad times happen. Relationships crumble. The world seems too hard a road to navigate. Life sucks. Bad health bears down upon us. We are misunderstood. Forsaken. Life is hard. As I looked at that one amazing flower that stood the test of time, I prayed that I too would endure.
God calls us to endure. To persevere.
To be steadfast and immovable even when the world crashes in.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
What I find interesting in the verse is the inference that if we persevere, we prove our love for God. And so the question is not whether I would persevere but how deep my love for God is today.
Would you like to show God how much you love Him today?
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
The crown of life would be special wouldn’t it?
And even better, I’d love to see my Father’s smile of welcome when I meet Him.