The Christmas meal that had been planned for our church family last year was cancelled. The heavy snow and underlying ice made travel treacherous. So we had our get-together this week instead – complete with Christmas gifts!
On the way back home, as I walked to the car, I spotted some straggly looking plants in the border of the restaurant. In the half-light I could see that they were lavender bushes. Out of a gardener’s habit, rather than hope, I brushed my hands over the somewhat dried foliage and flower stalks. The pungent, unmistakeable fragrance of lavendar rose in the night air and clung to the palm of my hand! It was unbelievable. After almost a month of sitting under 2-3 feet of snow, the flower stalks still stood tall. Though they had been frozen rigid for so long, once rubbed, the little dried lavender flowers were exuding their scent.
How do I react when circumstances leave me cold? Do I simply wither inside when things are not going well for me? Do I turn into myself and give nothing to others?
I believe that God wants us to be like that lavender.
- We can, with his help, rest in him even when the burden that is weighing on us lingers longer than we would like.
- We can stand up tall again, and not give in, even when we have been knocked flat. We can be, as JB Philips put it, “…knocked down but not knocked out” (2 Corinthians 4:9)!
- And we can also exude the fragrance of Christ, especially when someone of something bumps against us, “rubs us up the wrong way”, bruises and wounds us.
I want to live daily in Christ’s presence, growing more like him, absorbing the atmosphere of heaven. Then, when pressures and troubles come, when I am suffering, something of the beauty and fragrance of Christ will be released to those around me.