More than flowers …

namaqualand-2Image source

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:28-34

I never made it to Namaqualand, South Africa. I wanted to but the timing was all wrong. Had I gone when I could, I would have seen this vast landscape at its driest. During the winter months, little grows in this area of the country. It seems like the last place you might want to visit. But that’s in winter.

In spring, when the rains come in late August and early September, this place, that once seemed dry and barren, bursts to life with all sorts of flowers. They have been patiently biding their time until the right moment. Waiting for the right amount of rain, the warmth from the sun to reveal the beauty they have kept hidden. The ground is covered in an undulating carpet of beauty.

Flowers are a source of beauty, a method of encouragement, used for decoration, fragrances that appear in perfumes and much more. However, they are completely fragile. Once cut off from their life source of roots and soil and water, their life span is so short. In my house, their ability to wither and die right before my eyes is amazing. However, they are a source of delight and a reflection of God’s abundance.

But if I’m honest, I worry. The cares that pile up on my shoulders seem to grow rather than shrink. I have friends in need, lists of things to finish, music to learn and memorize, food to make for an event, things to prepare before company arrives, responsibilities at work, family concerns that weigh on my heart. I worry that I will make mistakes, that I won’t be ready on time, that grief is knocking at the door of those I love, that the hurts and heart aches I see in some eyes are too big, that it is all crashing in much closer than I want it to be.

And Jesus reminds me to look at the flowers. To stop. To take the deep breath. Look.

He clothes them in a glorious riot of colours. He sends exactly the right amount of rain at precisely the right time. He warms the dry, dusty soil with the temperature that nurtures them into flourishing.

If He takes such good care of the flowers which are here today and tomorrow are gone, He will take care of me. It might not feel like He is taking care of me at the moment, but His hand is always there. Leading, guiding, holding, sustaining, reassuring, providing, beckoning, nurturing, welcoming. My hands were not designed to hold worries. They were not made for that task. Instead, His hands are big enough to hold all of my worries because He asks me to give them to Him. To lay them in His hands and then step back because the throne room is the best place for my worries to sit. In His presence, my worries are given their proper perspective. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

In this Advent season, I will be tempted to take my worries back on my shoulders attempting to carry the load. Instead, I choose to bring them to the holy throne room of grace and leave them there in the care of my tender Jesus.

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