Flowers speak

The farmer’s market is awash in flamboyant color.

Stands that, a few weeks ago, held nothing but weathered wooden tables are now overflowing with potted flowers. It is a veritable riot of hue.

I’m here to bring a little of that mayhem home.

Curiously, Scripture has basically one thing to say about flowers:

     they die.

It’s a somber refrain.

Job says it, Isaiah says it. James and Peter repeat it. Psalm 103 puts it in its most severe form:


            As for man, his days are like grass;
                    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
           for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
                    and its place knows it no more. (103:15-16)

For David, it’s not enough that flowers fade and die. They are also forgotten. It’s like standing in the warmth of spring and counting how many days until winter returns. Thanks, man.


Then comes Jesus. The master of living an 8:18 observational life, Jesus sits on a hillside, teaching in Matthew 6 when he apparently points to the nearby wildflowers and makes a familiar point about them: they die.

But there’s more! It’s just like Jesus to put a twist on an old truth. He uses the transitory nature of the beautiful blossoms to make a point about God’s abundant care:

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28–30)

Now, I haven’t had the urge to dress like wildflowers since a few ill-advised ties in the late 70’s. But I hear his point. God loves his children. Concretely. And abundantly.

We matter to him. Jesus wants that truth to shape us very practically. Therefore, do not worry. It’s easy to see an unmet need – particularly one we pray and pray over – as proof of our insignificance. God must have bigger problems on his mind, we tell ourselves.

Well, he does, actually. He has a kingdom on his mind. A kingdom he wants to bring on earth as it is in heaven. But that’s exactly why he wants us to know he cares down to the smallest of details of our lives. He cares so that we can stop concentrating on those details ourselves and think about that same kingdom. That we might lift our eyes from the ground in front of us and see the road ahead.

He wants our momentary blossoms to lead to everlasting glory.

Father, help us to seek first the kingdom and leave you to add all the other things we need. Thank you for the beauty of spring flowers. And teach us, through their short-lived splendor to trust you.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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