The Rose of Sharon

Have you ever noticed how things seem to get better the harder you struggle? Take something as mundane as a glass of cold water. If you happen to be really hot and thirsty, that single glass of water might make you think it is the best glass of water bar none. Or a really good sandwich. If you are really hungry, that’s the best sandwich ever. I’m sure it has always been that way.

Thirty-four years ago Judy and I spent a week in Maui on our honeymoon.  We both enjoyed our time there to the point we considered moving. The main reason for us to return to the mainland was the thought of leaving our first grandchild and our children behind. We’ve returned to Hawaii since then, and while we still had a blast, it didn’t quite measure up to the joy we felt the first time.

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is pretty much that way. A cancer patient finishing their treatment would have a hard time telling what hearing the words cancer-free feels like to someone who’s never had cancer. Or, trying to explain what watching a loved one slip away into eternity feels like to someone who’s never had to face that reality.  Lucky for us, we do have someone who’s faced it all and come through every trial without faltering.

Jesus was approximately thirty years old when he entered his earthly ministry. The first half must have been a blast. He drew Donald Trump-sized crowds, turned water into wine, raised the dead, cast out devils, and taught thousands. And while some Jewish leaders hated him, he basically had things his way. It was the second year and a half that got rough. There were several attempts on his life and he was mocked. Finally, he was executed by crucifixion, while his disciples fled. But, lucky for us, it doesn’t end that way. He walked out of his tomb and offers free life to us.

Working in our flower garden this morning, I made a discovery by the waterfall. Several Rose of Sharon flowers were pushing their heads above the rest toward the sun. They came from a plant we planted by the waterfall, and the ground was next to some volcanic boulders. Not the best to say the least. But the flowers that struggled to reach the sun are beautiful. Kind of like our Lord. There isn’t a battle or struggle he has not faced, and he’s eager to join you in your fight, if you will let him.

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