Stop and Smell the Roses

It’s been a dreary week weather-wise, adding to the dreary mood of the world right now. Wars and rumors of war have us on our knees in prayer for the suffering and for our own future. What do we do when all looks bleak and uncertain?

My mind rushes back to Mary Magdalene—lost in her grief over the death of the One who came to save. Her eyes were so filled with tears that she failed to recognize Jesus at her side. Only when he called her by name did she cling to him in relief and worship. Sometimes God calls our name like that—clear as a bell, and we are roused from our depression and grief, able to rise and serve again.

In the meantime, as we strive to serve in the in-between, our gracious God grants us glimpses of his presence, reminders of his sovereignty.

We look for the good in the midst of the pain.

As my rose bushes stayed winter dormant, I received an unexpected bouquet of flowers this past week. Though late for the proper holiday, they were right on time for my soul. In a week of dreariness, I pulled out my phone today and shot multiple pictures of the flowers. Looking at them from various angles and focusing in on their radiant colors, I was taken aback at the contrast to what I saw outside my window and on further to the wider world.

God brings color and light to darkness.

I have more than one picture from years of serving in the hard places that remind me of God’s touch:

  • A tomato growing on the side of an apartment building.
  • A desert flower.
  • A brilliant sunset by the Red Sea.
  • A perfectly white cloud in the wide Tunisian sky.
  • A smile on a child’s face.
  • A dandelion on a grave.

Sometimes the storms and deserts of life blur our vision and keep us from seeing what’s right in front of us; that’s why we have to look for it.

Today may be a hard day for you. You’re tired, scared, worried, depressed, and even sick. While the Lord can speak to us through his Word and prayer, he can also show himself in the smallest of wonders.

Close your eyes for a moment. Take a deep breath.

Now, open your eyes and look around. What is the insignificant burst of color and wonder you’ve missed?

Look for it, and when you spot it, thank God for reminding you of his presence today…Then, do it again tomorrow until the storm passes.

Grace and Peace

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