[…my strength comes from God]
I don’t know what it is about me, “P’s” and alliteration, but I’m at it again! I’m blaming it on this lone persevering Peony.
When I spotted this bloomer from a distance, I didn’t even recognize it as a Peony. Normally these beauties are full and ruffly. They’re one of my favorite flowers too, but at first glance, this one looked more like a ruffled Poppy. (Huh… Did you know that there’s a Poppy called a Peony Poppy? I didn’t!)
I enjoy Poppies as well, but I couldn’t recall there being one in the backyard. On further inspection, sure enough, there before me stood the most pathetic looking, yet still beautiful, Peony surrounded in weeds.
The Proper Perspective
I’ve felt very much like that persevering Peony. I’m still growing and blooming, but I was convinced that I was looking pathetic. (But still beautiful to God?)
In reference to my post Delighted by Daisies, is it the trials that dare to break through the beauty, or is it the beauty that dares to break through the trials? Maybe it’s both?
I was becoming so focused on the negatives, that I’d been missing the beauty all around me. When I looked at that Peony surrounded by her weeds, my first thought was these weeds need to be pulled away.
However, as I looked at all of it as a whole, the entire scene before me looked quite beautiful. That’s what God sees! (Yes, I’m crying again.)
We are Beautiful through God’s Eyes
We can grow through the testing, or we can go the other way until we don’t recognize ourselves anymore. The opposite could be said as well: when we grow through the testing we will come out of our trials an entirely different specimen.
This season I’ve really been struggling to feel like myself again. I was fighting tooth and nail, so much so that I had begun to resent the fight. However, God never let me stay there. He gave me plenty of loving kicks in the pants, and reminded me to keep my eyes on Him. He lead me to every source of encouragement and comfort that I needed. (He still is.)
I took this photo in my mother-in-law’s garden. This is what a Peony in full bloom should look like. Look at all of those ruffles! We can’t do it in our own strength.
King Asa’s Sad Mistake
King Asa didn’t rely on God for his strength. Instead, he relied on the king of Aram. Because of this, Hanani the seer told King Asa that he’d done a foolish thing, and that from then on, he would be at war.
This only made King Asa angry. He had Hanani put in prison, and at the same time he brutally oppressed some people. When he was afflicted with a disease in his feet, though his disease was severe, he didn’t seek help from the Lord, but only from physicians. Two years later King Asa died. (2 Chronicles 16) King Asa wasn’t dependant on God, He let his anger become a bitter root and suffered needlessly. (Please do seek medical assistance when needed. God does use doctors, but we must also seek God’s help above all. (Matthew 7:7-12)
“For the eyes of Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war” -2 Chronicles 16:9(NIV)
Let’s be grateful for the Lord’s faithful guidance, correction and direction. This is where our strength comes from—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Colossians 1:15-23; John 14)
P.S. Some of my favorite flowers are considered weeds. Poppies are one of them, and whether a daisy is a weed or not is apparently up for debate. If they’re growing in an unwanted area they will likely be considered a weed. Interesting that they can be seen either way, don’t ya think? Perspective matters.
Thank you, Lord, for the trials and the testing! You are faithful through every season.
“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep. –Psalm 121:1-4 (The Message)