I heard a story once and out of it grew this:
I could feel individual fibres give way as the secateurs sliced effortlessly though the stem. The delicate flower was free, its plump body, its velvet petals, its heady fragrance filling my soul as I breathed in the rose’s gentle breath. It was in quiet moments like this sometimes that…
“Sam.” The voice was deep, reverberating in the centre of my being, but gentle; inviting rather than insistent.
“Do we have to right now Lord? I mean this is supposed to be a day of rest isn’t it? This morning I preached Your Word, I did my best to show Your love to everyone who came, even Mrs Hennessey and her hideous hat. This is my time; can’t I spend it alone with my garden?”
“What is the purpose of this Day, Sam?”
I sighed, “To rest.”
“To spend time with You.” I said the words in a sort of sing-song ‘I know this is true but I don’t really want to accept it’ sort of way. You see I know God, and usually when He talks to me He manages to make me feel guilty about something.
“So? Will you spend some time with Me?”
“Oh, sure. Like I have a choice.”
“Actually you do.”
I gave in. “Well no I don’t. Not really, because when it comes down to it I suppose I really do want to be with You.”
The voice smile – if that’s actually possible – and we walked on to the next rosebush. I lifted my secateurs and started pruning again.
“Do you know that with over a thousand different roses named, there is not one named for Me?” The voice asked. “Cliff Richard has one, Freddy Mercury has one, even Johnnie Walker has one. I created them all and yet the nearest anyone came to thinking of Me when naming a rose is the one you hold in your hand.”
“Amazing Grace? I think it was the name that drew me to it in the first place, but then I fell in love with the way the colour deepens as you draw closer to the centre. It reminds me of Your love.”
“You love Roses don’t you Sam?”
My resentomatic cut in. “Here it comes! You know this is why I didn’t want to talk to you today. You’re going to give me a big guilt trip about how I’m wasting my time on these flowers when there are people suffering and dying out in the world. You know I work hard during the week and this is just about the one thing that brings me some peace.”
The voice remained silent until I had completed my tirade and the steam had stopped pouring from my ears. It waited till I was calm then continued, but quieter as though it were fading; withdrawing.
“Sam, the flower you hold in your hand, beautiful and delicate as it is, grew on a fallen world. Just you wait till you see a rose the way I intended it to be.”
I cupped the rose in my hand and marvelled as I always did at its exquisite asymmetry. Was this what my Lord wanted to tell me, that there was so much more He was waiting and longing to give? I felt a twinge of guilt at having ranted at Him – see told you – then while my mind was gently boggling at His words, the voice came again; a hint of a whisper above the gentle breeze.
“Sam you hold in your hand a rose that grew in a fallen world, and you are looking at it with eyes that were born into a fallen world. Just you wait till you see a rose the way I intended it through the eyes I always intended you to have.”
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