As I look outside I see little white flowers dotting the yard. They are everywhere, some yards looking almost snow-covered by the thickness! My children call them root beer flowers because they say the smell reminds them of root beer. They love them, and would love to bring me a daily bouquet of them! In fact, they used to do so. It broke my heart to make them stop, but I finally had to do something about it. As pretty as the flowers are, they are not very nice to me. They make my eyes swell and burn and my head feel like it’s going to explode. So, when my sweet children want to share their beauty with me, they now ask me to come outside for a few minutes and just look. Out in the wide open air, the effect isn’t so bad as when the little flowers are resting in a water-filled cup on my desk indoors. I appreciate the view with my children, and then head back into the house to pop a Claritin.
Those little flowers resemble many beautiful things in our lives.
Some of those beautiful things draw us in, beckoning us with their desirable look and smell. But, up close, we realize their danger. We discover that we cannot enjoy the beauty without being caught up in a trap of poison coursing through our veins. In fact, we discover that they are not so beautiful after all. They are instead temptations. Things that seem beautiful, but in truth are nothing but weeds. Dangerous weeds.
But then we see the truly beautiful; the good things God has for us. Unfortunately, we do not always receive even those beautiful things. We see the hardship that seems to accompany them. We see suffering. We see challenge. Yes, oftentimes the most beautiful things given by the hand of God come to us in the midst of hardship or under the disguise of trouble. Despite the beauty, we often desire to push away the beautiful things in hopes of easing the suffering, just as I push away the pretty flowers to ease my burning eyes.
I am reminded of a verse in James.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17
The context of this verse discusses glorying in the blessing of God, whatever our circumstances. We are reminded that temptation comes not from God, but from our own lusts when we seek beautiful in the wrong places. But when we seek the beauty that comes from God, we find that it is perfect, no matter what may accompany it.
As spring blooms all around us, may we see the difference between the flowers of God’s perfect gifts and the weeds of temptation. May we run from the death caused by the weeds but embrace even the challenges that may accompany the beautiful flowers of God’s gift to us! And may we always have the perfect wisdom of God to discern the difference.