After pruning my rose bush tonight, someone might mistakenly think that I had a kitten. I came back in the house with little drops of blood and scratches on my arms. Had I cut my bush down to 18 inches after the last hard frost last fall, I wouldn’t be battling the thorns. Part of it is my fault.
It so happens that I inherited this rose bush. It came with the house and I suspect that it is very old; but it is hardy! I am very old. I seem to be hardy. I also have thorns. Diplomacy has never been a strong point in my personality. I do know, however, to keep my opinions to myself unless someone asks. If the questions require a thorny answer, well, that is usually what the person will get.
Over the years, I have also wisely tried to offer a rose along with the thorns. It is so much easier to get along in the neighborhood and in the church family when roses accompany the thorns.
When I read my Bible there are times when a thorn jumps out at me and I sadly know I have been in error. God’s love tempers the admonition with kind promises. “If you will. . .” usually gives a conditional promise.
Here’s one of those verse as an illustration: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
The rose is the promise of restoration. The thorns are the things we need to give up: pride, wickedness, seek God rather than seeking our own wisdom, spend real time in prayer. Seek God.
The Lord knew that His chosen people would not always seek Him. He knows my weaknesses too. Gradually as I grow, I have fewer thorny problems with temptation and sin, and I am more like my hybrid rose in my back yard. Ah, that’s the kind of rose bush I want to me. Fewer thorns; bigger blooms.