Sunday evening before services, one of the young ladies in my Sunday morning Bible class came up to me with 4 very tiny baby roses that were wilting. She had tied a peach- colored chiffon ribbon around them to match what was probably the original color of the beautiful roses. It was such a sweet gesture and very touching. I thanked her and hugged her and you could tell she was so pleased at my happy response. After services I asked her if she and her mother had a rose bush at their house, thinking that maybe these flowers had bloomed out early with all the warm weather and then got “nipped” by frost with our unusually warm weather this year. “No,” she replied. “My mom bought these at the store.” “Oh,” I said. “Well, they are very beautiful, and thank you so much for thinking of me. Roses are my favorite!” Some people would have taken them home and thrown them away since they were so shriveled up. Instead, I decided to put them in a special hand-painted cup with beautiful pink roses painted on it. As I went to wash some dishes the next morning I looked over at the roses. They had not responded to the water; reviving. Of course not! What was I thinking – that they would “come back to life,” and be vibrant and beautiful as they were when they first bloomed? I kept looking at them, almost feeling sorry for them. That was when I noticed that they had some very vibrant colors around the edges that you seldom see when they are in full bloom. The turned-back wrinkled petals with various contours were actually quite interesting. The texture also added to their loveliness. Even in their dying moments, they somehow managed to be as beautiful as ever and even more eye-catching. There were so many layers to them that were compacted that you couldn’t count them unless you peeled all the petals away.
I couldn’t help but think that our lives are very similar to that of the rose. We start out as a bud with such a marvelous fragrance, majestic and beautiful. We bloom to a full-grown person, opening our “petals” taking in all the wisdom and knowledge and experiences that God has to give. Then we slowly close up those petals, treasuring all that we have learned, caressing it and keeping it in hearts and minds.
There is a season for everyone: young, middle-aged and older. We love the youth and can learn so much from them. They are so full of energy and hope and they help to keep us young and lively, active and on our toes as we struggle to assist them in their Christian lives. In adulthood we blossom out, digging deeper into the Word, perfecting our Christianity and teaching others. We are at our pinnacle, physically and capable of doing do much for the Lord. Then in our old age we slow down and begin to wither a bit with age and illnesses, but the wisdom and experiences of life lie deep within us, buried within the petals, available to share with others who are willing to take the time to “peel back the layers.” We need to be taking advantage of the lives of our older brothers and sisters in Christ, and making opportunities for them to share their lives with us, as well as our young ones. They have so much to offer. (See Titus 2:3-5). As I grow older, I know that our teenagers and younger children truly covet those kind of relationships, and as parents, and grandparents, we need to encourage our children to reap the glories of those “godly roses” with all the changing colors and textures. They have much to offer (Proverbs 16:31), and most are not only willing, but also eager to share. “Adopt” a grandparent. Visit the shut-ins and those in nursing homes. Make opportunities to share your home with widows and widowers. Your children will not only be enriched, but they will have many wonderful memories and learn so much from these brethren. Remember the words of the wisest man: “ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;” Ecclesiates 3:1-2. There is a season for everyone! We can bloom through all of our seasons.
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, gospel preacher for the Chipman Road church of Christ. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for over 40 years, published several books including: Behavior Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.