Monday, October 5, 2009

An Easter Lily in October

"Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

This verse just seems appropriate for today. This afternoon I was out checking my flowerbeds after a frost. I sighed as I saw the once vibrant zinnias now all brown; their dried heads drooping toward the ground, no longer taking in the rays of the bright sun. I eyed another bed closer to the house where four o'clocks once displayed their white and pink blossoms and bright green foliage. They too had been bitten by Jack Frost and had turned black.

Then I saw it. Could it possibly be? It was standing tall and vibrant. It's green leaves perfectly shaped. The near dead Easter lily I had planted in the spring was there catching rays from the late afternoon sun peeping from the grayish clouds. My husband and I had bought the lily in remembrance of our parents who have passed on. With its' full glorious white blossoms, it had once adorned the church where we worship, along with many others.

I had not noticed it all summer long. In fact, even though I watered the bed daily, I thought it must have died and forgot about it. But, the four 0'clocks must have sheltered it through the hot summer months, hiding it from my view. It had also managed to escape the freezing temps.

And now, the once dried up plant is standing tall and steady as if to say, "Yes I'm here, I'm alive!" As I reflect, I think it a wonderful reminder from God. A simple plant brought my parents and my husband's parents to mind. The lily had displayed new life among the dead, hope in a cold world. We would see them again some day. It was also an affirmation of the hope I have in Christ.

Earlier today, I had a conversation with a man who stops by our home every couple of weeks or so selling special flavors of ice cream and yummy foods to grace our table. But, he was carrying more than our order today when he reached the door. He had a burden on his heart and the tears in his eyes spoke volumes as he shared his sorrow with me. His dear friend had just been in an car accident and was killed. It had happened so suddenly and was so unexpected.

"Was he a believer?" I asked. "Yes, but only just recently" he said, explaining he had planted some seeds about Christ in his friend's heart not long ago. His buddy was apparently just getting his life turned around, had taken God's hand and was headed in the right direction. My distraught visitor was hoping the seeds had taken root. "Well, that is the Holy Spirit's work," I said, reassuring him he had done a good thing.

It's kind of like the Easter lily. I had planted it even though it looked like it was dead. I had hoped it would survive. And it did through God's grace and care. Even though I was not aware of it, God had been doing His work, nourishing it as only God can. I had forgotten but God had not.

Just like He will not forget us. Sometimes I need to reflect upon what is truly at the heart of the Gospel. That knowing Jesus is really all about a new life. A new body that will never perish. A new beginning in a new home where there is no more sin or suffering. I get so caught up in day to day life that I lose sight of what Jesus did on a cross for me. That my sins can be forgiven because of Him alone.

We are really only here for a brief time on this earth. God is good and has provided us with the Holy Spirit to keep us company on our journey. We are traveling through from here to there to reach our final destination where we will indeed have new life.

Death has no victory, has no sting, for those who confess their sins, believe and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The Easter lily in October reminded me of that today.

Has God reminded you of anything lately?