Bloomin’ Thought for the Day: Love One Another

John 12: 34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

When I was planning my new rose garden, I chose 5 roses, each with a different color. I’m not a vanilla kind of gal; I need a variety of flavors in my life. I think that’s why I worked in Emergency Rooms for the majority of my nursing career. We never knew what was coming in, so we had to be on high alert through the whole shift. I enjoyed the challenges each new day presented, and the knowledge I acquired from them. There was always something new to learn.

I’m feeling a bit frustrated right now, though, because the challenges that are smacking me in the head are those that we are all facing, not just nurses and doctors. We are all trying to discern ways to deal with COVID 19. This is something that none of us have ever experienced, and one that seemingly has no end.

There is a larger problem, however, that also seems unlikely to end any time soon. The racial tensions in America are at the highest levels I think anyone has ever seen, and I can’t help but think we are making matters worse instead of better. Hate is spilling over the top from both sides, racial and political, and the chasm between them seems to be growing deeper.  As a child, I never felt any fear or animosity against anyone unless they hurt me, and even then, by the next day the transgression was forgotten. I still give people who hurt me multiple chances at reconciliation.

Now, though, I struggle to understand, or make sense out of, the violence that is poisoning our lives. I’m angry seeing innocent people being harmed or killed or businesses destroyed. So many people have tried to explain that this is in response to many years of persecution that African Americans have endured. As much as I do understand that, no one can convince me that violence is the answer, especially since I believe that the residual riots have little to nothing to do with the initial trigger. Changes need to be made for sure, but it will take time, and we have to be patient. I must believe that peace will come. I don’t know when or how, and the resolution may be painful, but I can’t imagine we can sustain ourselves as a nation with all this hate and anger.

As I was enjoying my rose garden today, I was struck by the fact that, of the seven rose bushes I planted, all are either already beautiful, or showing healthy growth, but one: my Peace Rose. Granted, I planted it later than the rest, but it’s not even showing even tiny signs of growth yet.  I placed it right in the middle of the multicolored roses. As I contemplated the question of whether my Peace Rose will grow or not it, I became sad. Isn’t it a bit like the turmoil of today? Different colors on both sides of the virtual battlefields, and peace hasn’t yet begun to grow.

Just as African Americans are trying to achieve recognition and reparations in the world, God is also at work trying to do the same thing. I believe He is pleading with us to turn our attention to Him and to His sovereign words, the most important of which is love. If we would all do that, “red and yellow, black and white”, and remember that we are all “precious in His sight”, this world might stand a chance at survival. “Jesus loves the little children of the world”, and adults, too, and He charges us to do the same.

You Are The Branches

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

With everything going on here these days, I have not done any ‘Bloomin Thought for the Day posts. Here’s my first of the Spring-Summer Season but far from the first flowers that bloomed this year.

We all know that people who do not have the Lord in their hearts actually can do many things; it doesn’t mean they are bad people. But do they have “the peace of the Lord that surpasses all understanding?” (Phillipians 4:7) in their lives here on earth, and are they prepared to earn a seat at His table when they meet Him, spirit to Spirit, in Heaven? See how my honeysuckle vines wind up and over the trellis on their way to meeting the branches coming up the other side? In my plant, I look at God as the trellis, supporting each new bit of growth climbing up toward the top. When the storms come, He supports them. As they grow, some wander away from the trellis and grow wild, with nothing to cling to. That is when I have to lead them back and feed them through the wrought iron decorative framework until they find a place to hang on and continue growing towards their goal.

Each honeysuckle plant was carefully placed in the ground, one on either side, and they grow towards each other. Regardless of where they were planted, the trellis will support them and guide them until they meet each other halfway. Isn’t that what God wants to do? He doesn’t want fighting and bickering among His children, but a meeting of the branches that have grown in Him. He is the Vine. We are the branches.We must spread ourselves out with open arms to meet the other side. “God’s will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” (The Lord’s Prayer.)