Flowers for Friday: Purpose

There is none like you among the gods,
O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
Psalm 86:8

During Covid Madness, I have to take more than occasional breaks from Facebook, lest I, too join the maddened crowds.

What is it about a crisis that seems to bring out the worst in some people? It’s heartbreaking to me. In the past when I would be upset, I’d turn to the Lord in prayer and then to exercise to work off some steam.

But now that CFS has effectively quashed my dreams of buffing the ol’ guns back into their former glory, I’m spending the time walking and obsessing over the local flora.

I love the local flora. And besides, I promised some photos of wildflowers quite a while back.

My apologies. I get distracted, you see…

So today, to commemorate my favorite field of flowers which was just sprayed before planting, I present to you two of my favorite April flowers. I think the Lord may have something to say to us through them, if we pay attention.

First, the humble crimson clover.

It isn’t particularly impressive on its own, I’ll grant you. But put it together with several of it’s mates, and you have an altogether appealing visual treat.

For you are great and do wondrous things; 
you alone are God. 
Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth; 
unite my heart to fear your name. 
Psalm 86:10-11
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, 
with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever. 
For great is your steadfast love toward me; 
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
Psalm 86:12-13

Next, the Bachelor’s Button. I beg your forgiveness for any blurry photography. It has been very breezy here lately.

This little flower is quite decent enough by itself. However, I love most the blue haze of an entire field of them spread over the grass like a fuzzy blue blanket.

As a father shows compassion to his children, 
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. 
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 
As for man, his days are like grass; 
he flourishes like a flower of the field; 
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, 
and its place knows it no more.
Psalm 103:13-16

And sometimes, these two very different flowers share the same field. The result is stunning, and my poor photos do not do it justice.

I almost feel as if they exist for no other reason than to offer glory, praise, and honor to their Creator.

We could learn from these flowers. Even as I write these words, the field is browned from herbicide and ready for tilling.

Lord may the fallow ground of our hearts be ready for the work You want to do in us!

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from 
everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, 
and his righteousness to children's children, 
to those who keep his covenant 
and remember to do his commandments. 
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, 
and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:17-19
Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, 
and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 
But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. 
Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
Isaiah 8:12-13
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, 
on those who hope in his steadfast love, 
that he may deliver their soul from death 
and keep them alive in famine. 
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, 
even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33:18-22
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles 
to abstain from the passions of the flesh, 
which wage war against your soul. 
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, 
so that when they speak against you as evildoers, 
they may see your good deeds 
and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1Peter 2:11-12

Swept Away

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
(Romans 12:15)

Thirteen years ago today, my oldest nephew was born. One year ago today, the mother of a good friend and a neighbor of mine passed away.

Thirteen years ago as K made his entrance into the world, I breathed a sigh of relief. My sister and I were both pregnant at the same time and both due in August of 2004 – along with another lady at our church. According to our due dates, my sister should have gone first… but K was in no rush to leave the security of the womb.

When the other mom, who was due in the middle, had her baby first, my sister was not amused and I said a little prayer that my own baby would not be born first. She wasn’t, and so on the day K arrived, I rejoiced not only for the healthy new addition to our family but also because I had been spared the wrath of a pregnant woman long past her due date.

Thirteen years ago, I was also making final preparations for my own little one who eventually attempted to enter the world on August 30 feet-first, putting an end to my aspirations of having a natural, drug-free birth. She continues to forge ahead in her own, quirky way to this very day. C’est la vie…

One year ago, my heart broke for my friend and for her dad. I had been blessed with the opportunity of visiting Mrs. T twice since her cancer relapse, but when the end approached, things spiraled down rather quickly. How I hate to watch cancer suck the life out of a person; how I loved Mrs. T’s joy despite it all. When we talked, she was always cheerful. On her livingroom couches, we chatted and laughed, defying death to rob the joy from life.

A year ago, I was also preparing to deliver Mrs. T’s eulogy – an experience that left this short little introvert feeling simultaneously honored and immensely terrified. However, she had asked me on one of our last chats and there was no chance I would let my fear cause me to decline a dying woman’s wish – particularly one that had always shown my kids and I such kindness and acceptance. I prayed that the Lord would give me words to comfort and encourage, and I trust that He did.

So it is that today, my thoughts are consumed with the crazy dichotomy of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure that makes up human life.  I rejoice at my nephew’s thirteen years, at watching him grow from the plumpness of infancy to the stringy musculature of budding manhood.

Yet I weep for my friend; for the pain of grief and the hateful reality of disease and death. Even for those whose hope extends beyond the grave, Death is still a merciless and irreconcilable thief. My fervent prayer today is that, if she has not already, my friend will come to know the peace of my Lord in the midst of her loss, and that His presence will bring the light of joy to banish the gloom of loss.

And I am thankful. Thankful to be a part of every bit of it – the joy and the pain. Thankful that Mrs. T had made her peace with God and was unafraid to walk into the unknown of death, knowing that she was known on the other side. Grateful to watch all my own children, nieces, nephews, and innumerable young friends grow and change, experience both failure and victory, hurt and be comforted, mourn and laugh and live and love and be.

I rejoice at their smiles and laughter. I weep for their anguish and suffering. I love them all.  And suddenly, I am struck that our Lord prayed His very last prayer on earth for unity – unity with Him, with the Father, and with each other. He knows our great need, the tragedy and frailty of humanity warped by sin, the awful beauty of both mirth and tears.

To endure the overwhelming tide of emotion, the dizzy heights and the horrible depths, we need each other to help bear the weight of it all. And most of all, we need Him, the Rock of Ages, the great Foundation to provide meaning and purpose so that we are not swept away by the wild and unpredictable tides of life.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
(John 17:20-21)

A Prayer for the Church


Our Lord who is our Portion, we truly have no good apart from You. You are the Giver of all good gifts, our Refuge and Strength, and Your grace alone is sufficient for us. Forever, You are faithful, holy, and just, and in You we find satisfaction.

Yet… we are a fickle people. We confess that we often try to find pleasure or fulfillment in things that seem to satisfy but are only temporary. Too often, we look to hobbies, entertainment, or even other people to placate us in our whims. Too often, we grow impatient or restless when You call upon us to wait on Your timing, and we endeavor to accomplish Your work through our own means or strength. In brief, too often, Lord, we fall short of believing that You are enough.

Still, You are enough. If we belong to You, then we can trust You no matter what our circumstances may appear to be. Just as You had a plan for Joseph in the actions of his traitorous brothers and even in his undeserved imprisonment, sometimes what seems impossible or horrible to us is merely a part of Your plan to bring glory to Your name.

God, forgive us for our unbelief! Forgive our mistrust of Your motives and ways, and teach us not to look for pleasure and contentment apart from You. Forgive, too, our self-focus as we concern ourselves with the gratification of our desires rather than with Your good pleasure.

Replace our self-focus with Christ-focus and restore us to a right relationship with You. May we become less in our estimation as You become greater. As the psalmist wrote, “you make known to us the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” (Psalm 16:11).  Let these words become reality for us, Lord, and may we become a people passionate to exalt the reputation of our mighty God. All this we ask for the sake of Your Son and in His name, amen.