“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20)
The ladies’ retreat had been refreshing. We were filled to overflowing with heavenly manna, but I still had one tiny, frivolous wish: to win a door prize. How lovely one of those purple silk flower centerpieces would look in my living room with its plush, amethyst carpet! Oh, where was my name tag to place in the drawing?
I searched all my packed bags at least twice to no avail. The raffle went on without my name. C’est la vie! No chance for me. But I was genuinely happy when the guest who had come with us won! After all, God knows who needs a blessing most. Perhaps it was a real encouragement to our guest. But then the Lord blessed us all. The scenic ride home through the Texas countryside displayed God’s creative genius in a colorful profusion of spring flowers. I went to bed that night quite happy, even though I hadn’t won the purple door prize.
Yet, the Lover of my soul had heard my prayer! Little did I know the delight He had planned especially for me. The next morning, I walked outside my home. Something beautiful had occurred during the night. There on my front lawn, all over my lawn, the most wonderful, little purple flowers had sprung up! My lawn was like a wildflower meadow! I stooped to pick one up and suddenly sensed in the depth of my heart the Lord’s still small voice. He whispered gently, “This is your live bouquet!”
Tears welled in my eyes as God’s love overwhelmed me. Isn’t it just like our Lord to answer prayers “above all that we ask”? I had requested a small artificial bouquet and instead He had lavished on me a yard full of vibrant, living irises that bloom each and every spring! And they were all my favorite color purple!
I was so taken by this romantic gesture of the Lord that I decided to research my flower. None of my neighbors’ yards boasted this particular beauty. Yet on mine, they seemed to be just springing up out of the St. Augustine grass. I actually thought my grass was blooming! The stems of the flowers were similar to the blades of grass. But an expert on grass assured me that St. Augustine could not bloom. So I went to the library and found a book on Texas wildflowers. (These were those days back before the internet.)
This particular wild iris was dubbed “Herbatia.” The petite bloom had three main petals, each not much bigger than a thumbnail. I thought how the three petals could represent the three-in-one, triune God. But I saw more symbolism in this fragile flower: it could represent how fleeting is mortal life. Its official nickname was “Celestial” due to its ephemeral existence. An individual iris has a total life-span of only seven hours! Its petals unfold about ten in the morning and they close about five in the evening. The next day a new batch will unfurl, but each individual flower is so very transient. Yet the Creator chose to pack all this delicate beauty into this teeny flower that lives for a mere seven hours! Such a speck in time!
This short-lived masterpiece reminds me of our Savior’s words: “Consider the lilies… even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these! If then God so clothes the grass… how much more you?” (Luke 12:27-28)
And just how does the Lord clothe us? He clothes us in His righteousness and His holiness. His glory will arise on us and be seen upon us! (Isaiah 60:1-2)
Not only are we so clothed but we smell good too! Even better than a rose! “For we are the aroma of Christ”. Through us He “spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” We are “the fragrance of life”, Christ’s life in us! That’s why the devils are disturbed by our mere presence – we smell like Christ! To the devils, that is the smell of their inevitable demise! Dear saint, never underestimate the power of Christ in you! Even your smell – the fragrance of Christ in you – makes the enemy cringe! (see 2 Cor 2:14-16)
My prayer is that whenever we smell the fragrance of a rose, or behold the fleeting glory of a lily in full bloom, or enjoy the ephemeral beauty of a Celestial iris, we will remember and appreciate the Lord’s promise to His church, His bride: we will be forever arrayed in the fine splendor of His glory!
“That He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory….” (Romans 9:23)
“But we all… beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory…” (2 Cor 3:18)
“When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory.” (Col 3:4)
“Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) O glorious Day!
Now every spring, I am greeted with this “Celestial” perennial reminder that our life here will fade just as the flowers. But in the beauty of the iris, I also see His promise that our good Lord does “exceedingly abundantly above all that we can imagine”! So when our frail life here fades, we will be transported into His eternal glory! HalleluYAH!