The Rose

The opening of a rose takes time. Photo by Jovana Nesic.

The funny thing with roses, they start as just a bud;
Some take so long to open, they seem like just a dud.
But no amount of wishing will make them open up,
Like no amount of wanting removed the bitter cup.

For some things happen soon, while others happen late;
And some things you may only learn, as you’re forced to wait.
For roses must all open, all on their very own,
And will only fully flower when at last they’re fully grown.

Life’s a lot like roses—all packaged in a bud;
And when yours waits to open, you may feel like it’s a dud.
But no amount of effort on the part of puny man
Can change celestial timing if it isn’t in God’s plan.

So, be still my little child and know that God is there;
He feels your every heartache, He hears your every prayer.
Learn to trust your Maker—that your life He really knows,
And watch in patient wonder the unfolding of your rose.

When I was younger, my mother came up with an ill-conceived idea to help me and my sister become better at English and writing.  She decided that she would give us an object, and we would have to write several paragraphs describing it.  Thanks, Mom, what a great way to ruin a little boy’s entire day!  Now wait, you say, it couldn’t have taken more than half an hour to complete this simple task.  Oh, contraire!  To an eight-year-old boy sitting still and writing more than a sentence or two seemed like torture. 

I remember one of these exercises vividly.  I spent an entire morning in the backyard with a pad of paper trying to come up with enough stuff to describe a tulip!  Still, all these years later, every spring when the tulips come up and I see a certain red one with a black center, I am eight years old again, laying in the grass on a sunny spring morning with my biggest care being how to finish an essay.  The world was simple and straightforward then.

The rose is another flower I spent some writing time with.  I am amazed at how lacey and delicate the petals are.  I remember picking rose buds that were just about to open and peeling off the petaled layers.  It is interesting how they are so beautiful when they open naturally but not when you try to peel them open. 

Maybe that is why when I first heard the story of “God’s Rosebud” it had such an impact on me.  The story is about a new preacher who was talking to an old preacher about feeling insecure regarding what God intended for him.  The old preacher told him that, like a rose, you can’t force things to happen.  You have to wait for God to unfold them in your life.

Like the young preacher, I was feeling kind of frustrated recently with a few things that seem to not be progressing like I would like and in the time frame I would like.  I decided to make it a topic of fasting and prayer.  As I was praying about it, I felt the words come to my heart, “You cannot force the rose to open.” 

I knew the message. 

Does that stop the wishing and wanting and working towards the desired outcome?  No.  Does that mean that sometimes I still don’t feel a little sorry for myself?  No.  But it does help to know that the Maker of all flowers knows and loves and is aware of me.  As each of us continues faithful, the promise is that all of our roses will eventually bloom.

And knowing that, at least, is enough.

Written: December 3, 2016

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