Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

1.26.2016

The Parable I Learned From An Orchid



It was orchid watering day when I nearly beheaded one of my plants.

Every couple weeks I spend a few moments over these flowers of mine, pretending to have a green thumb, enjoying the quiet.  I love it simply because orchids have enthralled me for as long as I can remember.  In fact, as a teenager I was sadly disappointed to read in one of the Anne of Green Gables books that orchids were too exotic to strike Anne's fancy.  To me, you see, the wide open blooms are like a welcoming smile on an honest face.  The blossoms floating from the stem conveys a grace I can only marvel at...

But back to my story...on this particular watering day I was delighted to notice new buds and blossoms on each one of my orchids.  Smiling happily, I worked to stake up a few of the stems burgeoning with heavy buds.  

Suddenly, I felt a sickening snap under my fingers as I straightened one stem against a stake, and realized to my horror that I had all but entirely snapped the stem in two.  It was hanging on by only a thread, and as I held the still-beautiful stem in my hand, I could hardly believe that I had really just broken it off.  The four or five buds it held, promising beautiful, luscious flowers in just a few weeks' time, now seemed to be taunting me of what I had destroyed.  

I didn't know what to do.  Should I snap it off the rest of the way and put the stem in a vase with the slim hope I would still get to see a few blooms?  Should I leave it there and hope the stem didn't grow diseased and infect the entire plant?  Although a quick internet search encouraged me in the snapping direction, I couldn't bring myself to do the deed.  So I just left the stem hanging on for dear life and ignored my sad little orchid for the next week or so, resigned to the fact that I had probably just killed any chance of blossoms from it for awhile.

But little did I know that while I left the broken stem for dead, something very alive was happening within that broken plant.  For fragile though orchids may appear, fussy though they may seem, they are actually among the most miraculous pictures of new birth that you will find in nature.

Some weeks later when I finally brought myself to assess the damage I had done, I could hardly believe I was looking at the same plant.  Not only had the broken stem begun to grow back together and continue to send life to the buds, but a new stem had begun to sprout from the break, and another little nub of a baby stem was beginning to peek out in a different spot.

I was astounded and humbled, and as I stared at the miracle blooming before my eyes, I realized the greater miracle the Creator of this orchid was teaching me:  that God is in the business of healing "the brokenhearted and bind[ing] up their wounds." {Ps. 147:3}  

He is the master of not just repair but rebirth. {Romans 6}

My orchid was not simply "just as good as before."  It was actually better than before, and isn't the analogy to our lives breathtaking?  God takes the broken stems of my life and the barely-born buds of vision that seem doomed to die and He sends life through them, growing stems and flowers beyond what I could have imagined

When a friend betrayed me, He became my Friend more truly than ever before.
When I was proud and tripped over my own ego, falling flat on my face, He picked me up and taught me humility.
When I was brokenhearted, He comforted me with His great grace, and I grasped for the first time just how un-graspable the well of His grace is.

So every time I look at my broken taped-up orchid and see not one, not two, but three potential stems and all the beauty they are pregnant with, I see myself.  I see my brokenness.  I see the tape holding my life and my heart together, and I see the new things God has done in me that He never could have accomplished had I remained unbroken.  And I marvel that, just as He has done throughout history, God used a humble flower to show me these truths.  

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
{Matthew 6:28b-29}

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