I almost cried in church yesterday (OK truth is I did cry — a tear or two).
If you have been following my blog, you may know that I’d really, REALLY like to have a good cry. I’ve been getting closer and closer recently, but still just a little choked up is the best that has come.
Yesterday we had a guest preacher, the president of a nearby Christian college, who offered the following illustration (and I hope he’ll excuse my embellishments):
A man had a rosebush in the back of his yard which was planted a little too close to the fence. But he care for the rosebush, tending, pruning, feeding, and protecting it in the winter. But year after year the man was only rewarded with one or two blooms for all his effort. Finally, one summer he was fed up with the rose bush and intended to cut it down, dig up the roots, and start again with something more suitable for the location.
As he walked down toward the fence with his tools, his neighbor called from her screened in porch on the other side of the fence, inquiring as to his intentions. He explained he was preparing to rid himself of what he had come to consider a bush of thorns. The older woman pleaded, for him first to come to sit with her on her porch and have a glass of tea.
The man was annoyed already with the bush, and now with the further interruption; not wanting to offend his shut-in neighbor, he acquiesced. As he sat on her porch, he saw that her yard was mostly untended, but for the most fabulous rose bush he had ever seen which had come under their common fence and flourished on her side of the fence.
She explained that since her husband had died and she could no longer care for her yard like he used to, this was the only thing of beauty she could see from her porch. She begged him not to cut the bush as she enjoyed sitting and looking at the magnificent blooms, and on occasion, she would get a subtle hint of their scent.
Unknown to him, his care for the bush for so many years had produced for the older woman the only thing of beauty she could see for most of her day.
The reason this affected me so greatly, is I have come so close recently to cutting down my rose bush – thinking it merely a bush of thorns. My ambition is the serve the Lord, and I have not always seen the fruit of this labor. Lately, He has been offering me reminders like this, that the unseen is often more important that what is seen.
The second part to this story, is that I actually shared my deep emotional response with my wife. This is something I am really trying to work on, letting Marie into my private “man world.” Over the last several weeks I have realized just how closed off to her i have been – this is on me and I’m trying to correct it.