Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Even Though...

The fig trees in the yard have begun sprouting new leaves that will soon hide nearly all the branches that are clearly seen in winter. In a few months, an abundance of figs will appear, which we will gladly share with those who want to make some delicious fig preserves.

As I look at the new leaves and anticipate the harvest ahead, I recall these words found in Habakkuk 3:17-19, New Living Translation: Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength!

As I reflect on those words, written centuries ago, I pray that I, along with people all over the world, will trust God at all times, regardless of whether things look hopeless or promising. As Habakkuk so rightly said, the Lord is our strength in every situation.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Inner Beauty

The lavender tulips I’d bought and placed in a glass vase had begun to look droopy and wilted. Their petals had opened up all the way and a few of them had begun to curl and turn dark, especially along the edge. Their stems had weakened and could no longer support the blooms, causing the tulips to face the floor instead of the ceiling. Seeing how they no longer looked liked tulips, I started to throw them away. But when I took a closer look, I realized they were still beautiful on the inside!

Naturally, I just had to photograph them! Late one evening, I carried the vase of pathetic-looking flowers downstairs to my photography studio. I broke off one of the better-looking blooms and placed it in a container that gave a bit more support to the weak stem, which I had already shortened considerably. I finally managed to get the bloom turned upward, though at a slight angle, since it could no longer hold itself fully erect.

I’m glad I photographed the tulip before discarding it, because now I have a beautiful image that reminds me that flowers—and people, as well—possess inner beauty even as their youthful loveliness fades.

That’s a comfort to me, especially as I see more and more telltale signs of aging appearing on my body. Regardless of the changes that occur in my physical body, I hope I will always have “beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:4, New Living Translation).