There was a rose bush in a garden that had constantly been cut down. Now, every one knows there is a time to cut back rosebushes. You cut back a rosebush in the fall, after it has bloomed in glory.
But this rose bush was different. It was never allowed to grow. Much less bloom. It would start to grow and...get cut down. Repeatedly. With alarming regularity. Eventually...it began to question: Am I even supposed to be a rose? Am I even supposed to be growing? The rose had been told nothing.
Well...it had been told a lot of things, actually. But only one thing really registered.
It was...a weed.
And the rosebush...believed it was...a weed.
And the strange thing is, it wasn't entirely the rosebush's fault.
Our rosebush was terribly afraid of the Gardener. Would he be ticked if he finds out I am asking if I really am a rose? Because shouldn't I trust the gardener enough to know he would never lie to me? And if he says it once it stands for all time? If he says I am actually a rose...I..am...a...rose.
It was almost impossible for the rose to see things from the Gardener's point of view. Not that it didn't want to, it just...couldn't. It struggled to believe it wasn't the Gardener that cut it down. Repeatedly...
And can it trust him?
You see, the rosebush assumed it was the gardner who had cut it down. Prematurely. And had destroyed any chance of it growing. Or blooming, to say nothing of being beautiful. Barely level with the ground, it could not imagine being two, three, five feet tall...having beautiful blooms slowly develop on it.
That seemed like a dream only liveable by...others. Our rosebush could not imagine there being a day that the Gardener would come and inspect its blossoms. Or...even watch until the exact moment to pick the rose and....well.... anything was beyond this stub of a rosebush's dreams.
Perhaps it wasnt...perhaps the rosebush simply did not know...
Logic says of course the rosebush should trust. But the Gardener had constantly cut it down.
But what if it was something else? What if it was someone else?
But everything it knew said it wasn't supposed to grow.
But this plant was getting literally nipped in the bud and at the same time condemned for not growing.
Oh... Did I mention it was not... cut down....by the Gardener?
The rosebush confused the hands that pruned it with the hands that snipped it at the very core and made it fall to the ground and cut off almost its very life. In a way it was hardly to be blamed for the confusion. One day in late spring the Gardener came into his garden.
By this time, the rosebush had actually grown about a foot or two above ground, in spite of a winter that was terrible and a spring that was full of storms. It had barely noticed it had grown. It knew it had survived, somehow...but the sight of the Gardener made it tremble. It hardly knew why. He was coming staight to the rosebush. And...this was shocking to the rosebush...he did not whip out the pruners. He did practically nothing...at least, nothing that made sense to the rosebush.
The rosebush did notice that its roots felt a lot more secure, and there seemed to be life...LIFE...flowing up thru its stems. To the rose's heart, the Gardener spoke as only He could. If roses can cry... the rose wept in the strong, kind hands of the Gardener.
This rose may be you...or someone you know.
Who never got to be a lil kid in Jesus' arms.
Who had too many things happen at too young an age--confusion and pain and not knowing that God wanted to comfort them thru it.
All the time, your rose bush was being chopped off By an enemy of your life.
And you didn't know it.
But you know it now.
The Gardener knew it all along. And you both know now...what you had....stolen...from you
And...he knows you really could not have known it then. He may have tried to tell you in various ways...but there were other voices that drowned his voice. And...this was not entirely your fault.
(there will be plenty of time to deal with how you responded to life. For now, set that aside.)
You are allowed to let it sink in and mourn what was stolen from you.