“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon 2:1
Welcome to the journey and my very first blog post! The purpose of this blog is to hopefully encourage, inspire and teach others with what God is teaching me. It is my prayer that you will find something here that God will use to speak directly to your heart. Our first lesson today is about PERSPECTIVE.
Is the glass half empty or half full? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Perspective changes how we see things, what we think about God and ourselves, how we relate to others, and it affects our attitudes.
The purpose of using the title for this blog “I am a rose of Sharon,” came about one day when I was sitting on my front porch. I needed a different perspective because I was trying to process what God had allowed into my life. Almost seven years ago I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and it has been quite a roller coaster ride. But my focus was drawn to this red rose that had bloomed so beautifully on my rose bush. I could not help but take a picture of it (above).
My mind was quickly reminded (thank you, Holy Spirit!) of a verse in the Bible from the book of the Song of Solomon. I first ran across this verse many years ago as a teenager, and I thought it was pretty cool that my name was in the Bible. You see, I have never really liked my name. As a young girl struggling with self-esteem, it seemed like a plain name. Why couldn’t my name be Ashley or Rebecca? I even asked my mother why she had chosen that name for me, and her response was, “I just liked the sound of it.” That was a letdown. I envisioned her telling of someone in the family with that name with an interesting story to go along with it, but no. Then to add insult to injury, the rose spoken of in the Bible was found growing on a plain, the plain of Sharon. So yes, my name was in the Bible, but it was a piece of land. Hi, my name is Sharon (heavy sarcasm).
Perspective can affect your life negatively or positively. It is a choice. But God used this verse with the beautiful rose and a lily of the valley to change my perspective.
A rose is a beautiful flower, a symbol of love, and the flower most delivered on Valentine’s Day. However, a rose also has thorns. I was sitting on the porch that morning feeling burdened by a disease that has no cure. It has become an unwelcome part of my life, a “new normal.” To me, there is nothing beautiful about it. It represents the thorns on the rose bush, and that was my perspective.
Then God said, look at the rose. That is the gift. The rose is my life, thorns and all. This is the beauty of it, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28). I can trust He has a purpose for my life, and He is working all things, even multiple sclerosis, for good.
The Apostle Paul understood thorns, and in 2 Corinthians 12, he talks about a thorn in his flesh, a physical condition. Even though this “thorn” was “a messenger of Satan”, God would use it for Paul’s good, so that he would not become conceited. Paul asked the Lord to remove the thorn three times, but God’s answer was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He told Paul to look at the rose. Paul’s life was a testimony to the grace of God and to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How is your perspective today?
What in your life is causing you to focus on the thorn?
Today stop and smell the rose. Yes, the rose has thorns but set your mind on things above. Keep your eyes focused on the most beautiful Rose, Jesus. He knows about thorns, too.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your sufficient grace. Thank you for wearing the crown of thorns, and for dying on a cross that was meant for me. In this troubled world, Lord, hold me close to You. Lift up my head today to see Your love for me, and give me the assurance that even though I will face trials, sickness, and heartache, I am not alone. Amen.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20