Aug 16, 2014

ALL OF NATURE DECLARES // lesson of the English daisy

"The God said, "Let the east sprout vegetation:
 plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing 
fruit after their kind with seed in them", and it was so"
== Genesis 1:11 NASB ==

The English daisy is the baby sister of the more known daisy flowers. The button-size flower rests close to the ground and flourishes in open fields. It seems to also live domestic lawns. But rather than staying fenced in the constrains of a garden area, the English daisy is a wild child. She goes where she wants and in the early spring, you can see her pop up in random large patches amidst a sea of green grass. The cheerful bloom, with her delicate petals and tiny frame, looks beautiful in a field, but homeowners often get annoyed seeing the English daisy appearance on their expensively-manicured lawns. "Why can't they grow in that little corner, or that one over there by my other flowers?".  Instead, the petite wild child seems to bloom without order and without boundaries (1).

I personally can delight in seeing English daisies in fields of parks or trails while walking. Their lack of order do not bother me then. I see the larger picture -- a field bursting with life -- and enjoy their colorful contrast with the oft monotonous green grass. But if they were to be spread seemingly haphazardly across a lawn that I painstakingly dug and planted to portray some semblance of order and structure, well, then if I am being honest, I would not be so delighted in these tiny little flowers.

Order is needed and important in our world. We see order in nature when the tide of the ocean draws nearer to the shore at night and then draws back in the morning, over and over. Order is seen in fruit trees --- if I plant an apple tree, I can trust apples (rather than pears, carrots, or snow peas) will grow eventually. Mountain ranges such as the Rockies of North America and the Pyrénées of southern France, stretch across thousands of miles in linear patterns that boast magnificent views. And heading much further back to the creation story of the first chapter in the Bible, there was order in creation. Every day, God created something new. He had order in creating the night and day before He spoke the animals into being; the sun, mood, and brilliant stars before the wildflowers and trees. 

"Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. The do not work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you . . ."
== Matthew 6:28-30 ==

Solomon is well-known for his wisdom, but also for his extravagant wealth, which was not always used wisely. He pleased his 700 wives and 300 concubines with their own places of worship within Israel, bringing foreign gods and temples into a land dedicated to the land of Jehovah. He built a palace, had large forces of chariots, and lavished extraordinarily expensive gifts to visitors such as the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10-11). For a man of such magnitude and splendor, you have to imagine he was dressed in style. Prada and Gucci's got nothin' on him. I can only imagine his royal robes. And yet, the wildflowers are dressed more beautifully because they were fashioned with the Word of a Creator who knows where each belong. Each delicate petal is designed with purpose though we may discard them as weeds in our square patch of lawn that we desperately want to keep in our own sense of order.

While order is needed and clearly shown in nature, there is still so much that our own eyes may declare as dis-order within creation, one of which may be wildflowers such as the English daisy that run loose in areas we want to show order. But while we may see it as random and unsightly, God sees purpose and beauty --- both with the wildflowers of the field and the wildflowers in our lives. Illnesses that seem to "sprout" out of nowhere. A new, unexpected expense such as a flat tire, leaky roof, or broken window. Life events that shift you from one city to the next. Life happens while we try to micromanage and put order and structure to it's wild ways. Life throws us proverbial curve-balls and we have the choice to go with the flow or cower in fear and worry. 

This lesson hits close to home. I like order. No, no -- I LOVE order. My apartment is usually kept in meticulous order, I am punctual to most events, I plan out intricate itineraries on vacations, and I relax by organizing files in my computer and washing dishes. If you're looking for the Order Queen, I am definitely in the running for the crown. And while a clean apartment, a fun vacation, and an organized computer home screen are not bad, when my need for order supersedes my need to trust that God's plan and order are higher and better than my own, I am in trouble. 

What I may see as chaos and confusing lack of order, God sees a plan. I see a small corner of the grander picture He is painting, and while I often think I understand this mental picture, I do not live it out. Yes, I believe God is sovereign and good, but does my life show it? When my heart quakes in fear and my mind is wrestling with all of the worst possible scenarios because something happened that did not go according to my planned schedule, am I trusting that He cares for me more than the wildflowers? Do I rest in His capable arms that comfort in these times when I cannot make heads or tails of anything around me, or do I try to loosen His comforting, fatherly grip and try to make it on my own? Do I frown and fret when my "expertly manicured" lawn is littered with English daisies that grow in the most inconvenient areas? 

Far too many times, I choose to worry rather than trust. I miss the beauty of the small surprises of life just as a meticulous homeowner may miss the beauty of the English daisy that has shot up on his front lawn. He wants those meddling little blooms gone so the lawn looks orderly and clean. And I often want the meddling little disturbances of life that do not match up with what I think looks orderly to disappear. He may use fertilizer in attempt to get rid of his and I will use worry, fear, and an overbearing attempt at restructuring and fixing things into my definition of order. But we will both come back unsuccessful because these little surprises will not cease to sprout again eventually. 

What I need is a fresh pair of lenses. I need eyes to see beauty amidst the seemingly haphazard changes of life and trust that nothing is haphazard in the hands of God. I need to remind myself of the many times in Scripture as well as testimonies, songs, poems, and books that show He expertly takes care of His beloved children. Nothing is beyond His ability and power. Though this does not  negate the fact that tough,trying times will come and times that seem disorderly and littered with questions and confusion. Yet, as a child of God, I am called to trust in His hand at work. He can make beauty from ashes and order from disorder. And while it may look exactly opposite to what my mind may conjure up as "order", I am still called to trust. 

In pastures green? Not always!
Sometimes He who knowest best in kindness
Leadeth me in weary ways where heavy shadows be;
Out of the sunshine into the darkest night,
I oft would faint with sorrow and of fright

Only for this – I know He holds my hand.
So whether in the green or desert land,
I trust, although I may not understand.
And by still waters? Not always so!
Oft times the heavy tempests round me blow.

But when the storm beats loudest, I cry aloud for help.
The Master standeth by and whispers to my soul,
“Lo, it is I.”
Above the tempest wild I hear him say,
“Beyond this darkness lies the perfect day.
In every path I lead the way.”

So whether on the hilltops high and fair I dwell,
Or in the sunless valleys where the shadows lie,
What matters? He is there.
So where He leads me I can safely go,
And in the blessed hereafter I shall know
Why in His wisdom He hath led me so.

 === John F. Chaplain ===

English daisies during in early spring at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wa
1) Hedstrom-Page, Deborah. Meet Me in the Meadow: Finding God in the Wildflowers (2005).

1 comment:

I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice