Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Real or Plastic?

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)

We have a hot tub in the backyard; it's a cozy little place to relax. Two years ago I added some greenery, "plastic fake greenery" interlaced in the lattice fence that surrounds the tub. It looks real; can just about fool anyone. The real plants and "plastic" plants mingled together. Looks pretty authentic if you don't look carefully! 

As the weather is getting warmer, I am now walking around our property trying to locate what needs "sprucing up". So, where am I today, you got it, the hot tub area. My eyes are looking for the plants, the vine that was entwined in the fence. Where did go? 

There was an abundant last year; there is not much left now! The snowstorms and frigid temperatures; the winds that howl and whip around outside bringing destruction to anything in its path have stripped away every pedal on this vine. What's left will fill the dumpster and be hauled away with the trash.

Behind the fence, we have some rose bushes that we purchased a few years ago; small little scrawny things. But over time, they have matured and are starting to thrive nicely. The rose bushes require sunlight, water, fertilizer (though I am not good at remembering), and a little pruning occasionally. In the winter, the snow comes, the winds wail; they take this plant and toss it with every winter, stormy element possible. I have no clue if it has endured. 

They were hit with the worse winter we have had in a long time; buried under 6 feet of snow. No sunlight, no fertilizer, nothing! What distinguishes the real from the fake? The rose bush was deeply rooted and has stood and overcome the storm. Nothing has uprooted this plant; it is secure in the dirt, in the ground, anchored and ready for a new season. It has developed, aged nicely, even to the point that it blooms beautiful fragrant flowers, even still! 

I can't say the same for my "plastic greenery". They are nowhere to be found; they were tossed and blown away by the wind, the effects of the many storms that swept by our home in the last few months. 

The Word of God says that in this life we will have trouble; so what should I do? When difficulties come and they will, what will we do? Storms come, they carry different names and affect us differently. The goal is to stay rooted, anchored, fastened; a tight grip to the one that can calm the storm or take us through it.

There is death and loss, financial destruction, family upheaval, pain that seems to have no remedy, memories that try to consume us, failures that remind us of our weakness. 

Pedals being plucked away by the storms of life threatening to leave an empty vine stripped away of everything beautiful, of everything good, of a fragrance that God has given us and uses to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.  (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Help us Lord to be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:5)

We feel scrawny sometimes, young; how do others do it; how do they overcome? I feel insignificant, unable to handle all that life brings. 

But feel the breeze, encounter the gentle wind that promises to come with restoration and life! 

Blessed is the one who perseveres!. Real or fake? Wither or live? 

Though we fully don't understand all that has occurred; it was like a gust that came and swept through our lives leaving marks and evidence that we suffered. The storm has now past. 

Authenticity leaves evidence; proof that the blooming process begins again. 

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." 

The test reveals what's authentic. Will we pass or fail? The Bible says we are more than conquerors; we have overcome! 

It's not about the fence, but on what side of the fence we are on. We chose. We decide. I chose Life, I chose Christ! 

When the storms come, and they will; what will the evidence say?

The fake blew away.  The authentic is now thriving even after the storm!

God bless you!~Liz


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