Sunday was a perfect spring day and Colleen managed the walk to the small country church she had attended almost every Sunday for the last eighty-five years. Today was her day to do the children’s talk, and as she walked, Colleen prayed quietly and went over the talk she had planned. With her neighbours help, most of Saturday had been spent preparing the church for this morning’s service.
As the congregation entered the building, their eyes were drawn to the sea of roses surrounding the pulpit and noses were filled with the fragrant aroma of roses of every size and colour imaginable.
When it was time for the children’s talk, Colleen rose and slowly made her way to the front. With obvious difficulty she eased herself onto the bottom step of the small stage area. The children always appreciated her efforts to get down to their level, and they waited quietly and expectantly for ‘Auntie’ Colleen to tell them a story.
“Good morning, children.” She waited for their response before continuing.
“Who noticed anything different about our church this morning?”
The children all pointed at the roses and began talking at once.
Colleen smiled as she saw their delight at the beauty of her flowers.
“Every morning I like to go for a walk and talk to Jesus and yesterday, as I was walking in my rose garden admiring the beautiful flowers, Jesus showed me something special. Would you like me to share it with you?”
The children nodded eagerly, and little Kaitlyn wriggled up close and leaned her head against ‘Auntie’ Colleen’s knee.
“Jesus told me that each of us is a little bit like a rose. We each begin life like this rosebud.” Colleen reached into the bag she carried and carefully pulled out a tightly closed rosebud. “This rosebud is still closed and we can’t even see what colour it will be when it opens up. It’s not very pretty like this, is it?”
The children all shook their heads.
“As the rosebud grows, it begins to open up, like this one.” Colleen reached into the bag and pulled out another rosebud. This one was beginning to open, and pale yellow petals could be seen peeking out of their green wrapping.
Colleen reached into her bag again and pulled out an enormous red rose with layer upon layer of rich velvety petals and Colleen paused to bury her nose in it and drink in the scent she loved so much before continuing. “And when the rose has had the right amount of sun and rain it opens up to show us it’s beautiful heart.”
“Now, when we look at this little bud,” she held the bud up again, “we can hardly imagine that it contains something so big and beautiful as this rose, can we. But, this rosebud comes from the same bush as this big, beautiful rose. If I had left this rosebud on the bush, in a few days it would have looked just like this big rose.”
“Jesus reminded me that we are like roses. Sometimes we feel like a rosebud. We think we are not very important, and that we won’t ever be able to do anything, but with Jesus help, we can open up to be big beautiful roses too.”
“When Jesus looks at you, He doesn’t see just the little bud, He knows all the wonderful things you have inside your heart, and He wants to help you open up and be able to make the most of what He’s given you.”
“These roses reminded me of a special verse in the Bible.” Colleen pulled out her Bible and thumbed through the well-worn pages. “This verse is found in the book of Jeremiah, in chapter twenty-nine, and it’s verse eleven.”
Colleen held her Bible out for the children to read along as she quoted the verse.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”*
“Whenever you see a rose, I want you to remember that God knows your heart and He has wonderful plans for your life. But you need to trust Him and let Him develop the plans in His own time.”
*Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
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