Hawaii, a traditional Aloha welcome custom is to string fresh flowers
a thread to form a long strand and then tying the ends together. We
this a flower lei (pronounced "lay"). When greeting someone as
first arrive, we place the lei around their neck and greet them with a
hug and a kiss on the cheek. When we hug the newcomer, the flowers seem
to smell sweeter. Some of the petals are crushed and may even break off
and fall to the floor, but the sweet fragrance they held is now
to be enjoyed by all nearby.
Many people become angry
with God when they lose a loved one to death or through an unwanted
or some other severe heartache or grief. Perhaps you are asking,
“Why has God put me through this?"
While there are other reasons
and testings in our lives, we often go through the plucking from our
nest so we will be a greater blessing to other people.
We were quite content and
happy on our
stem. It was very comfortable there. We were enjoying the flow of the
juices of the plant into us and from us back into the plant. We wince
cry out in anger or frustration when suddenly — seemingly without
reason or warning — we find ourselves being cut or plucked from our
cozy nests, the sepal of our loving parent plant, our mother or father,
husband, wife or other loved one. The sweet communion with the plant
formed us is severed!
But the flower does not cry
in anger and
bitterness at the severing as many of us do. It hears the Voice, “Here
is an especially pretty one. It will look wonderful on My bride’s lei!”
as it feels itself being plucked or cut from the plant. It heard the
to its beauty, the loving way it is being taken to bring joy into the
of the one who will receive it.
In our pain, we fail to
hear the voice
of a our loving God, forget that it was He who planted the plant on
we were formed in the first place for the very purpose of providing
flowers for His leis. We forget the warm sunshine of His face, and the
rains that brought refreshing from the heat of that same sun when the
and heat were beginning to wilt us. We forget that it was He who put
fertilizer and nutrients into the soil that gave our plant healthy
and that has resulted in our own special beauty. We feel only the pain
of the severing. We feel only our own loss of comfort.
As we lay fretting, feeling
alone and forlorn
even though we are being joined in the basket by other choice flowers,
we cry out in prayer and realize that God really is good, that He
does love us, that maybe there was a purpose in our being plucked. No
have we reached that level of peace, than we find ourselves again
out of our basket and feel His hand upon us and suddenly — ouch! We
the prick of the needle ? the rasping of the thread through us as a bit
of our juices are released onto and into the thread to blend with the
of all the other flowers on the lei and make the sweet fragrance that
be so much enjoyed. In our self-pity and pain, we cannot see the
bigger picture, the beauty. God that needle hurts! Oh! The rasping of
thread is tearing me and it hurts! Oh, God why am I suffering so?
If we will pray until we
see it through
the mind of Christ, we can see ourselves as one of the many flowers on
the lei and realize that this is all a part of His plan and purpose for
us from the time He planted His garden! We may even see our future;
placed in a bag and carried to the airport or the ship dock. Perhaps in
being put into the bag or laid on the seat or floor of the vehicle we
to ride in we may already begin to experience the crushing that is to
still more of our future. Maybe we can even see that, as a chosen
we will be placed at the very front when we are draped around the neck
of the honored guest and it is we who will receive the greatest
From the prettiest flower on the plant to being crushed on someone’s
Yes, there is pain! Of
course there is!
But we could not accomplish our purpose without it. Many flowers on our
same plant were not chosen and remain on the plant, to wilt, die
and fall to the ground unnoticed, unremembered. But with our honor is
price of separation, pain and crushing.
In prayer, we must submit
His will and allow Him to tenderly show us the real purpose and joy of
our being where we are. We do not say, “God, please just let me stay on
the plant. Just leave me alone here to die at dusk, drop to the ground
and be walked on, completely forgotten tomorrow.” No, we submit
to His will and allow Him to use us in His welcoming lei, to become a
of a cherished memory, possibly even to be seen in the arrival picture
of His guest forever after.
Jesus is the Rose of
Sharon, the Lily of
the Valley. He was crushed for us. He was and is our great example. Do
we think we are any greater than He? “He is despised and rejected of
a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our
faces from Him; He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath
borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him
smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our
He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was
Him and with His stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:2-5).
“For even hereunto were ye
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye
follow in His steps,” (1 Peter 2:21).
S. M. S.