Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Mother's Day Bouquet

Papua New Guinea has gorgeous flowers. Every time I wander outside my house, I am in awe of the orchids that just tumble along the edge of the road, the bougainvillea that becomes so prolific that people start hacking off chunks to save their pathways, or the frangipani that drops so many blossoms that the air becomes thick with its fragrance. Papua New Guineans love to have flowers around their houses, and if a wild flower appears in their garden, they will plant their vegetables around it, savoring its beauty. 

It's Mother's Day, and throughout the US, husbands and children are raiding florists,  grocery stores, and dandelion patches to find the perfect bouquet of flowers to show their love. Yet, for many, this holiday of rejoicing is frayed with pain--motherhood denied despite countless queries, relationships torn by the darkness of this sin-bound world, and even by things considered good--things like trekking off to another part of the world for years at a time to serve in Bible translation.

The LORD is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.
 Our days on earth are like grass;
    like wildflowers, we bloom and die....
But the love of the LORD remains forever
    with those who fear him.
Psalm 103:13-15, 17 

 “I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them
 I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he will blossom like a lily."
Hosea 14:4-5

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t 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 flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.
Luke 12:27-29

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
 Psalm 23:2-3

See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come!

Song of Songs 2:11-12

  Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
    The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
    and singing and joy!
...There the LORD will display his glory,
    the splendor of our God.
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
    and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
    He is coming to save you.”
 Isaiah 35:1-4

He is coming to save you.

Its no trite phrase to His beloved, but a promise we can cling to whether emotions on Mother's Day are drowned or celebrated in chocolate. Because, there are two things in this earthly world that are eternal; two things that we know will last past blurry skype calls or tissue boxes: people and the Word of God.

The grass withers and the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God stands forever.”
Isaiah 40:8

Thanks to my colleagues who have willingly shared their photos; I don't have all your names, but I am grateful!