Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
This Sunday I had the privilege to lead God’s people in worship. The message was about abiding in Christ, our True Vine. I led a song called, “You Revive Me” with a lyric that says, “All my deserts are rivers of joy”. I experienced that joy in worship, and encountered it again this morning in God’s Word.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland…to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:19-21).
My spirit agrees with this. I perceive that God is doing something new in me. He is changing something fundamental in the core of my being. It is connected to the sense of awakening that I wrote about in my last post. The theme is “lilies” has been everywhere I turn. I’ve read it in other devotionals and last night it came up at my Bible study. The teacher brought in a bulb and a flower in various stages of growth. She showed the children the ugly, brown bulb and asked them to identify what it was. The children didn’t know. Some thought it was an onion, others didn’t venture a guess. One little girl said it looked like an “ugly bug”. I marveled at the miracle of the flower before me and these little ones learning a lesson so fundamental to their being – to the person God has created them to be. I watched my own daughter listening to the teacher and prayed she would receive it in her soul, like a thirsty plant drinking the nutrients needed to make it grow.
Yesterday, I opened a nature study originally written in the early 1900’s. This was a free resource I wanted to check out for home schooling purposes. The first paragraph captured the thoughts I hope to share with you, “Nature’s awakening is a revelation to young and old, and furnished numberless beautiful lessons of purpose, protection, and order, lessons of beauty and unity by which the wisdom and power of the Creator are daily manifested. If, however, the unfolding buds, the fresh awakened flowers…cause no thrill of delight in the teacher’s soul; we may safely assert that she is not ready to guide, to influence the child, the poetic investigator who every heart throb is a response, a greeting to the divine power that quickens the seed, the bud – all things to life and beauty.”
I hope these words burst with life and promise; a revelation to you of the life we are to live in Christ. It is more than the beauty of the creation He has given us to admire, behold, and teach. These awaken us to who we are to become in Him. We are the revelation to others…the light, the city on the hill, the lilies of the field of God’s Kingdom.
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). The word workmanship in the Greek is “poema”, and it is where we derive the English word “poem”. I love the expression contained here that our lives are to be poetry unto the Lord. This connected with the description of a child as a “poetic investigator”. Can you imagine the potential if we were to really understand who we are? I think when we read this verse, our eyes gravitate toward the “good works” and the things we are “to do”, which I believe is a distraction and misapplication. It is not the doing, but the becoming.
I’ve been thinking of that in reference to the lily. It neither toils nor spins; the seed is planted and grows, but it knows not how. The lily has no understanding of the process and struggle from which it is brought forth. It simply reaches heavenward; bursting through the ugly seed, courageously rising up through the rocky soil in which it is planted, pushing through the density of the earth and opening to its destined fullness of magnificent bloom, all for the glory of God. This is the good works of the lily – to bud, flower, and blossom. It is to the Father’s glory that we bear much fruit – the fruit of becoming the people He has created us to be.
“Is it possible that the pure white lily with its heart of gold was contained in the ugly brown bulb?” (Excerpt from the Nature Study)
It is not only possible, but God’s ordained will!
From my journal this morning, “Father, there is a beauty here; one I can only glimpse for a moment. It is brief and fleeting, hidden and mysterious, like You – O depths of hidden Wisdom and Divine Power. Me, cloaked in this wretchedness. How to break through this husk of self, and make my valiant climb? Upward, heavenward, to become the beauty that Your eye saw and formed while I was yet an ugly, misshapen seed lying dormant in my mother’s womb. O Lord, you have formed me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! O Father, that I might become the beautiful, flowering blossom that You intended and created me to be in Your son, Jesus. I reach for you, Lord; aspiring to the high places to which you are calling me. The place you have appointed where I bloom and flower, only by your gracious power, and for the display of Your splendor”.
Contained within the hidden seed is the heart of gold; the brilliant, beautiful lily you were made to become. Believe it, and yield to the unstoppable, bursting life that God has planted within you by the power of His Holy Spirit. To realize this truth is to abide in the True Vine. This is the place where all deserts become rivers of joy. Drink deeply little flower. You are God’s proof that nature’s gold can stay…His new nature displayed in the crowning glory of your lily life. Stay gold and you will proclaim His praise.
“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” Isaiah 61:3
All mankind together will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.