The Yellow Rose

Last Friday, I went out to dinner with my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and friend Cory.  We were celebrating the spring birthdays of my sisters and Cory.  As we were chatting it up, a lady was soliciting diners to buy roses from her pre-packaged stash.  My mother obliged, and treated us each to a rose.  I was the only recipient without a spring birthday, but what the heck, she wanted me to feel special too. Upon returning home, it was so late that I neglectfully left my yellow rose in the car (sorry mom).  Saturday came with rain and overnight company and the rose had completely left my mind.  I discovered it again on our Sunday morning ride to church. I looked at the derelict yellow rose packaged tightly in its clear wrapping and felt guilty.  The petals were beginning to wither—yellow is my favorite—and its closed bloom was beginning to hang.  How could I be so remiss with this gesture from my mom?  I set it in the garage while we headed off to church, hoping it would eventually make its way to a vase that day.  And it did.  I picked out the perfect throwback vase and cut a couple inches from the stem.  Maybe she would last a day. I don’t know when it happened (and wish I could have seen it) but that rose opened up into full, beautiful glory.  Unexpectedly, she looked freshly cut from the garden, shining her golden glow with distinguished strength. Despite my dilapidated care, she persevered to her final glorification. I was thinking about my pretty yellow rose that evening during my bubble bath prayer (sometimes those are more reflective).  In this stage of my life I could identify with the rose all packaged up, waiting to serve God.  She looked nice through the clear wrapping—pretty enough to sell.  But she was sold with a potential to spread her petals and be beautiful.  In my recent frustrations, I was feeling like the purchased flower left in the car.  As I prayed, I was encouraged to thank God for my salvation and future hope of glorification.  I knew that no matter how I felt, I too would beautifully glorify my God in the end.  But I pleaded; what more can I do now?  I’m thirsty too!  Am I being ungrateful that I don’t want to stay in the wrapper, or am I closing my eyes to the many ways God is using me for His glory now?  I feel like my petals are withering in all of my attempts.  As I wearily move to bed each night, I think of all the ways I could have served my neighbor better.  Am I choosing the right ways?  Are there right ways and wrong ways? That’s when my metaphor taught me another lesson.  Many of my ambitions to glorify God and serve my neighbor surpass my own capabilities.  God is transforming me into the image of His Son through this whole life-process of sanctification.  Sometimes I get ahead of myself.  I saw that clear wrapping as a symbol of God's protection.  It protected the rose as it passed through various hands and waited in my car.    She had to wait for the right time to reach her full potential, but all the while she was glorifying her maker by functioning in her role.  I am in God’s will as I function in the proper roles God has placed me.  In the process I might lose some petals, my color may fade, and I surely need pruning.  But all these things will be a part of my beauty, which is God’s glory, in the end. Meditation: Isaiah 40:31