Showing people God's love can often feel like taking a stab in the dark. Kind gestures are sometimes welcomed with a turned back and mumbled sarcasm. Yet in 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) we are told to boldly, " … live by faith, not by sight." The Message goes on to say, "Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming." Clearly, God is asking us to live our lives believing He is working in and through us even when we can't see the results. Cheryl Costello-Forshey beautifully depicts the power of such living in her poem, The Most Beautiful Flower:
The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.
And if that weren't enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"
In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.
But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose
And declared with overacted surprise,
"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too.
That's why I picked it; here, it's for you."
The weed before me was dying or dead.
Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need."
But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.
I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.
I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight.
Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life,
And appreciate every second that's mine.
And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy,
Another weed in his hand,
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.
Used with permission. Cannot be copied or reproduced in any form without the written consent of the author. "The Most Beautiful Flower" has been published in: A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Stories for a Faithful Heart, A Pleasant Place, and, Serenity for a Woman's Heart.
This month, plan a time for your small group to hand out flowers. Form teams of 3 group members and set off to several different locations throughout the city (bowling alley, grocery store, Laundromat, park, or the mall). Each team should hand out single flowers (carnations are pretty and inexpensive) to people who cross their path with a verbal reminder that God loves them. Have all the teams meet together later to share their experiences. End this time by praying for those who received flowers. When we blindly trust God and excitedly thrust forth His love into a discouraged, fearful world, the impact can be immeasurable. A simple flower of faith can change a life forever.