This rose is much like us as humans. What did you see when you first saw this picture? The rose? The blood? God made us humans as one of His most beautiful creatures. Like the rose, we have such a delicately balanced beauty. He made us strong like the rose, strong enough to withstand a very cold barren winter and conversely and blistering hot summer. God provided us ways to protect ourselves from those who would interrupt our growth, as with the rose, one may come retrieve a thorny bloody hand. God also made us fragile. With nothing more than a strong wind, the most beautiful part of us, our petals, can be blown away. Then our unsightly pistil is exposed, naked and our growth and reproduction stopped. True harm can be done by unseen forces, such as the wind. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our real enemies are not the other humans in our face, but powers of darkness. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Despite our contentions with each other, it is not really the human that is the root of the harm coming our way. The human bringing the harm certainly has some responsibility for their behavior. But the ones motivating and deceiving that human are our real enemies. The devil and his demons and his ideas, philosophies and lies are where the destruction originates. That is incredibly hard to remember when faced with someone yelling at you or ridiculing you or even abusing you. There is a place for anger toward someone who harms you. There is a place to use our thorns to protect our growth and beauty. If we can get to a safe place, then we can also use the sword of the spirit. We can pray against the real enemy that is disrupting our lives. Satan seeks to kill, seal and destroy. God has a future for us. We have to trust Him to bring us to that future, to keep His Word. Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
I have trouble with that last line…”when you search for Me with all of your heart.” I cannot know if I have done that or not, for I cannot know my own heart entirely. (Jeremiah 17:9) I do know that I came to God out of selfishness. I wanted Him to save me. I also know I largely stay with Him out of selfishness. It is only in Him that I can find any safety at all. It is in Him that I do have hope for a future, a future in the place He has prepared for me, a forever place where there will be no tears, no more sorrow, no pain. It is in that I place my hope. That is the only place I find to place hope. I see the blood all over the rose when I look with my eyes. I see all of us and our world bloody and pain filled. But in faith, I believe that God did create us beautiful, in His image. It is because of the war between the enemy and God and the subsequent introduction of sin that everything can feel pain and experience sorrow. Sometimes that sorrow is more than we can bear.
Some say the God will never allow us to go through more than we can handle. The scriptures do not say that. The verse referred to is 1Corinthians 10:13 where is says that God will not allow you to be tempted to sin above that which you are able. But if the interpretation were true, that God would not allow us to bear more than we can handle, then all the martyrs would still be alive. There are wounds that can be inflicted to us, spiritually, physically and emotionally, that are more than we can bear. But even in the even that we suffer such a wound, God STILL has a plan for our future and plan for good. I believe that promise means that He plans for us to be in our home He is preparing for us. Our suffering here on earth fulfills some purpose, but it is often one not visible to us, just as our true enemy is not visible to us. We must strive to keep the picture of God’s promise and our own beauty in mind as we walk through each others thorns. Actually, now that I think of it, thorns were not given to us by God as protection. Thorns were a result of sin, of the curse. It was not until the enemy deceived us into disobedience that we needed any form of protection. How I long for the day that we will be safe again! Even so, come Lord Jesus. This world is more than we can bear Father.