Spring is finally here! Steve and I spent some time in southern Missouri at the end of March, and the dogwoods were just beginning to burst into bloom. There’s no missing those beautiful, blossom-filled trees and more than one person happily commented, “The dogwoods are blooming!” We don’t have any dogwood trees on our property, but we do have a few plantings of daffodils—and they are brilliant in all their yellow glory! In addition to the daffodils, the tulips throughout my beautiful hometown are coming alive with their stately blooms.
Soon, the wildflowers, too, will begin to show their colors. They typically grow in ditches, prairies, woods and other out of the way places. I usually notice some tucked under the brush alongside the creek that runs behind our house. Once all the bushes, grasses, weeds and trees grow out, though, I won’t be able to see them. Yet for some reason, God decided to plant these little flowers there, hidden and overlooked. God finds great joy in all of His creation—from the showy dogwoods, brilliant daffodils and stately tulips, to the obscure, secluded wildflowers.
In my book, A Day in the Life, chapter six opens with a quote from Hinds’ Feet in High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. The main character, a young woman named Much-Afraid, spoke to the Shepherd about the mystery of the wildflowers:
“I have often wondered about the wildflowers,” contemplated Much-Afraid. “It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild place of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them…”
The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. “Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,” He said quietly, “and the wildflowers have a wonderful lesson to teach…” *
Many people are like wildflowers. They grow largely unseen or overlooked by others, yet they are of great joy and value to God, and have wonderful lessons to teach us. I addressed this in chapter six, “Wildflowers: Treasures of Great Value and Worth.” Here are several excerpts:
Patty quietly shared her broken heart, tears flowing down her cheeks. “Chase had so much going for him; his life seemed so promising. He was such a good kid. He excelled at music and was an excellent student. He was truly gifted in so many areas. Then in his late teens, this promising life was completely altered. After he had his first manic-depressive episode and was eventually given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, it was obvious his life was going to play out much differently than any of us imagined. Chase now has a very hard time focusing on even the simplest of tasks. I grieve all he’s lost—his ability to function at the level he once did, his career choices, his relationships. It all seems like such a waste. It just breaks my heart.” …
In this very public world of Facebook and Instagram, it’s tempting to compare our children’s lives and accomplishments (or lack thereof) with those of their peers. Kendra candidly shared how hard it is for her to see updates from high school classmates and read about all the glowing accomplishments of their children. “My friends’ kids are pursuing careers, getting married and having babies. I long for my son, Cameron, to experience the same things. Because of his poor mental and emotional health, however, he’s been unable to stick it out in college. Thankfully he has a job, but it’s a very menial one and he hates it. Cam also struggles in relationships. He would love to have a girlfriend—or even a guy friend to hang around with—but he’s been unsuccessful in maintaining long-term friendships of any kind. My son is lonely and unhappy. I truly cannot remember a time Cam was ever happy. To be honest, sometimes I look at Cameron and wonder, what is the purpose for his life? Where is the good and perfect plan for Cam?”
These are great questions—questions that probe deeply. Many parents whose children struggle with deep emotional brokenness wonder the same thing. …
Rick Warren’s famous book, The Purpose Driven Life, emphatically states that Purpose Number One is, “You were planned for God’s pleasure.” Warren goes on to say, “The moment you were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. He wanted you alive, and your arrival gave him great pleasure. God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his very own enjoyment. You exist for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, his delight…It proves your worth.” **–various excerpts from A Day in the Life, pp 71-83
Indeed, in this Holy Week, as we walk with Jesus to the cross, we are reminded that we are worth everything to Jesus. Jesus determined our value was worth exchanging His very life for. Jesus willingly gave up His life for me…for you…for your children. Jesus sees each life as having more worth and value than His very own, whether that life seems to have purpose of not. I would encourage you to spend some time meditating on Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps some His followers questioned their own worth and value, considering they were simple fishermen and farmers, powerless women and sinful tax collectors.
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? … Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. … If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you (Matt. 6:26, 28, 30, NLT).
What a beautiful description of God’s love for us. He loves us simply because He made us. He loves us — not because of who we are or what we can do for Him — but because of who He is and what He has done for us. God loves and values each life He’s created. May you never lose sight of this truth as you continue living out your purpose on this side of heaven.
photo by guillaume-flandre-338064-unsplash
*Hannah Hunard, Hinds’ Feet in High Places, (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1975), 42.
** Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, (Zondervan, 2002), 63.