Charles worked tirelessly for three years growing a beautiful rose garden. He loved going out into the garden to look at his beautiful flowers. They smelled wonderful and the vibrant colors energized him. He had some knockouts in all colors and some gorgeous climbers. He tediously tended to them and shared cuttings frequently with his friends. One day he went out to prune his roses without gloves. As he went to grasp the rose between his fingers, he felt a terrible pain in his finger. He looked down and saw that he was bleeding. He threw his shears to the ground and stomped in the house. His finger throbbed for several hours. Charles’ perception of his beautiful garden changed after that day. The next day, he went and retrieved his shears, put heavy duty gloves on and cut down his roses. He started telling everyone that he hated roses, and never again did he remember the beauty of those flowers or the fragrance that lifted his spirits for the last three years.
Charles chose to ignore something important…something that could have changed his story. What was it? He perceived the roses as his enemy. In reality, he failed to put his gloves on. Everyone knows that roses come with thorns! If he had chosen to accept truth, and laid his anger aside, he and his friends would still be enjoying his beautiful rose garden, the fruit of his labor.
Just like the story of Charles, our perception of a situation can change quickly, if we don’t embrace truth about our failures or accept the pain and hurt that life brings. There is always a temptation to retreat into ourselves and hide from reality or to ignore our failure and pretend nothing happened. With God, we can wrap the failures and the successes up in His truth and then take our next step. If we don’t, the consequences can be dire. Blaming others, or pretending that nothing is wrong can cause mental anxiety that can prevent a person from doing their job, prevent them from caring for their loved ones, or from even doing day to day routines.
In the future, we will face things even more challenging than roses with thorns such as: adultry, divorce, death, terminal illness, chronic health conditions, drug and alcohol issues with family, natural disasters, job loss, teenage rebellion, etc. When we face these things head on equipped with God’s love, forgiveness, and truth, this warped perception of who the enemy really is can fade and be replaced with a concern for others who have gone through the same type of experiences that we went through. As well, it can become a learning opportunity so that we won’t make the same mistake twice and this failure or hurt may give opportunity to learn new skills or to deepen our relationship with God. In obedience to the Father, our perception will remain unscathed and truth will penetrate into our mind, body, and soul that will plant seeds in the lives of others that will hopefully one day bloom into a fragrant community of believers.
James 1:23-25 “For if a person just listens and doesn’t obey, he is like a man looking at his face in a mirror; 24 as soon as he walks away, he can’t see himself anymore or remember what he looks like. 25 But if anyone keeps looking steadily into God’s law for free men, he will not only remember it but he will do what it says, and God will greatly bless him in everything he does.” (NLT)