By Dr. James L. Snyder
When it comes to flowers, a flower is simply a flower. I do not know the difference between a rose and a lily. If it looks pretty, I like it. I like to keep things simple.
When I have to buy flowers for the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, I have a wee bit of difficulty. Thankfully, the florist where I purchase flowers seems to know quite a bit about flowers. All I need to do is say, "I'd like to order flowers for my wife."
Usually they will begin the conversation by saying, "What kind of flowers would you like?"
To which I will respond, "Flowers for my wife."
I explain to them my flower deficiency and the flowers are not for me, so I do not care, they are for my wife. They nod their head, smile knowingly, and make a selection for me.
By the time we had been married for eight years, she commented on the flowers, which I did not quite get at the time. She simply said, "These flowers are as lovely as the same ones you bought last year for me."
At the time, I smiled and thought I had hit it out of the ballpark.
As a young husband, I did not quite know how to interpret many of the comments coming from my wife. I soon began to understand wives speak a different language than husbands. To this day, I am not quite sure what she is saying to me, but I smile broadly, nod my head vigorously and hope I'm somewhere in the ballpark.
Then came the time she wanted to plant roses in our backyard. I was all for it. When she brought the subject up, I smiled broadly and nodded my head vigorously not really knowing what was before us. Actually, not knowing what was before me.
First, we went to a garden store, of which I have never been to before, to select the roses for our backyard. I am always excited about any new experiences, especially if it involves both my wife and me. It is nice to do things together.
As we entered the store, my wife knew exactly where to go and led the way to the flower center. It was such a new experience to me I walked behind her with my mouth open staring to my left and then to my right. I never knew so many different flowers existed.
My wife, on the other hand, seemed to know exactly where she was going.
Then, we finally arrived at our destination. The Rose Center.
I must confess I was rather confused. It was the Rose Center but there were no roses to be found. All I could see were a bunch of pots with sticks sticking out of them with thorns. I was to become personally acquainted with those thorns later.
"Where," I asked, "are the roses?"
"Right in front of you!" I ignored her sarcastic tone and looked at what she thought were roses. Under the circumstances, I decided to let it go. I figure there is no sense to embarrass her in front of the public. If she sees roses, who am I to contradict her?
Then I had a panic moment. One of the customer service personnel was walking in our direction. My "husband-mode" kicked in and I wanted to rescue my wife from an embarrassing moment.
I stepped up, shook the customer service personnel's hand and said, "I think we're a little lost here. We're looking for roses."
"Well," he said with a big smile, "you're in the right place. These are the best roses you will find anywhere."
To which, I was discombobulated. I looked all around and could not see one rose. I really do not like to be snookered like this. When I want to buy a rose, I want to buy a rose.
At this point, my good wife took over and began a very technical conversation about the roses she wanted for our backyard. I tried to keep up, but I was so confused and I am not sure I understood exactly what they were talking about.
Before I could figure it all out, we were loading all of these pots with sticks onto a shopping cart and headed for the checkout counter. Looking at me my wife said, "You do have your credit card, don't you?"
Still in a maze, I pulled out my credit card and in short time we were headed for my truck to load all of these pots in the back.
When we got home, we began the arduous task of transferring the sticks from the pots into our backyard. The only thing I could see were the thorns and they seem to like my hands. I know where the red comes from, it's my blood.
Several weeks later, my wife came running into the house very excited and said, "Come and see the roses."
Much to my surprise on these sticks were these little rosebuds between all the thorns. I wondered where all those roses came from.
James, in his epistle, sets the stage for this. "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:2-3).
Just like a rose bush, life has its share of thorns. Between those thorns are roses, which make the thorns worthwhile.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail email@example.com. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.