Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Roses?

Some people collect stamps, baseball cards, or antiques. I collect rose bushes. Some people splurge on manicures, custom golf clubs, or the latest electronic must-haves. I splurge on rose bushes. Some people indulge in gourmet coffee, imported-from-Germany chocolate (worth every penny), or five-star restaurants. I indulge in rose bushes. Some people save up for cruises, remodels, or season tickets on the 50-yard line. I save up for rose bushes. Some people invest in farm futures, mutual funds, or gold. I invest in rose bushes.

Why roses? Rose bushes, by nature, require a goodly amount of nurture; it’s not like I don’t have plenty of other work to do around here. Also, we live far enough from the beaten path that few people ever see them. (And most who do aren’t rose aficionados, so they barely notice all my thorny pride-and-joys, let alone admire them.) Furthermore, my rose bushes afford me no entertainment, convenience, or dividends.

Besides, rose gardens are for the affluent or the experts (called “rosarians”). Bouquets of roses pay tribute to honored guests, cherished valentines, and joyous brides. Sashes of roses are draped over the shoulders of winning race horses or triumphant beauty queens. Symbols of beauty, love, honor, and victory, roses star in more paintings, photographs, poetry, prose, or vintage china patterns than any other flower.

Which is all very well, but a rose garden sitting in the midst of a middling little ranch in the middle of the Wyoming desert—only yards away from greasewood, sagebrush, and a cow pasture full of cow pies? Well, it just doesn’t fit.

Or does it? Actually, it’s the perfect picture of what Jesus Christ has done for me and anyone else who’s made Him their Lord. Isaiah, a Biblical prophet, flawlessly portrays the Savior’s transforming work in and through those who receive His love:

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on Me because God anointed Me. He sent Me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners. God sent Me to announce the year of his grace—a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit."

I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, so the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.   --ISAIAH 61:1-3, 10-11

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…   --ISAIAH 35:1-2

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