Hawkeye Seventh-day Adventist® Church

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

Rescue time!

Many years ago, a young man did something nice for his new wife—because of love! Knowing her love of flowers, when he noticed a beautiful clump of yellow spring flowers, he was determined to bring them home to her. He took a shovel and removed two clumps of those beautiful flowers and when he arrived home with them, he planted them in a country road ditch near their new home. Those two lovely clumps of flowers flourished and were beautiful spring after spring. Since that time, everyone in that family—my family—has looked forward to seeing them come to life every spring. It is when they blossom that we know spring is here to stay for sure.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite wildflowers. And if you want, try to see them in the wild or at least google for a picture! Caltha palustris, known as marsh-marigold and kingcup, is a small to medium sized plant of the buttercup family, native to marshes, fens, ditches, and wet woodlands in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It flowers between April and August, but I have only seen it during early spring. It grows low and is a hairless, fleshy, perennial, plant that dies down in autumn and overwinters with buds near the surface of the marshy soil. The plants have flowering stems that are hollow and erect. The alternate true leaves are in a rosette, consisting of a leaf stem that is about four times as long as the kidney-shaped leaf. Our common marsh-marigold often has several flowering stems, carrying  between four and six (occasionally as few as one or as many as 25) flowers. There are four to nine (mostly five) petal-like, brightly colored (egg yolk yellow, white or magenta), and waxy looking.  Between 50 and 120 stamens with yellow pollen on a stigma, and each with many seed buds that develop into funnel-shaped fruits with 7–20 egg-shaped, brown to black seeds.
In the United Kingdom, this plant is known by a variety of names, by geographical region. These include in addition to the most common two, marsh marigold and kingcup, brave bassinets, crazy Beth, horse blob, Molly-blob, May blob, mare blob, boots, water boots, meadow-bright, bullflower, meadow buttercup, water buttercup, soldier's buttons, meadow cowslip, water cowslip, publican's cloak, crowfoot, water dragon, drunkards, water goggles, meadow gowan, water gowan, yellow gowan, goldes, golds, goldings, gools, cow lily, marybuds, and publicans-and-sinners. The common name "marigold" refers to its use in medieval churches at Easter as a tribute to the Virgin Mary, as in "Mary gold". In North America Caltha palustris is sometimes known as cowslip. All these names for one flower remind me of all the many names that describe Jesus. He too has many names that describe the character of who He is.
The flowers produce both nectar and lots of pollen which attract many insect visitors for pollination. This plant has adapted to rain-pollination. It is infertile when self-pollinated. Rather high fertility happens between sibling plants. Up to 200 seeds may be produced by each flower. The seeds also have some spongy tissue that makes them float on water, until they wash up in a location that may be suitable for this species to grow.
One year, some young cattails began to grow in the same roadside ditch just west and above the clumps of our Marsh marigolds—those beautiful clumps of flowers we wait for every spring. For several years those cattails were allowed to grow. And as the nature of cattails, they multiplied in the wet habitat that was a natural home to them. As those cattails grew and multiplied, they grew taller until finally they became a hazard. They were obstructing the view of anyone leaving our driveway turning east. When there were several close calls of not seeing oncoming cars and trucks, it was decided that those cattails needed eradicated! Eradicating can be done in different ways. You can chop them out—they may come back! You can clip them out—they will come back! You can dig them out—your back will hurt, and you might miss some! You can poison them—and perhaps kill other things. They grew just as small sinful habits grow and grow in our lives if we don’t get rid of them while small. Waiting for a small sin to become established in my life takes a lot more effort to get rid of—to get it removed while small would be better and easier.
Those cattails were persistent despite efforts to halt their progress so eventually it was decided to use the permanent method. Knowing that poison kills whatever it comes in contact with, I had some concerns about the future of my precious cowslips! I decided to be their savior. I figured that if they were moved further away—from the evil that was a danger to them—then we would still have them to enjoy every spring. Once again, they were subjected to a shovel! I shoveled and replanted them quite a way further down the road ditch! At the same time, I took another part of the same clump and took it over the crest of the hill we live on and planted it down below our tile line where there was another wet area. I really did not want to lose our flowers!!
For years we just had two clumps of marsh-marigolds to enjoy and enjoy we always did! We watched for them every spring. The year that I attempted to move them out of harm's way from the efforts to try to kill their offending neighbors was worrisome. Would they thrive in the new place? Would they even survive the move? I waited to see what would happen. And the next year when spring came to replace winter, I found flowers growing in their new home!! It was a relief to know that we had not lost our beauties. And then came an even bigger blessing and miracle. While we had those two clumps of flowers for years, now the strangest thing began to happen. Year after year those two clumps started to multiply and spread. Now we have flower groups all the way down to our property line. And the ones on the west side have thrived and spread also. 
As the flowers multiply, we continue to enjoy them and they make us very happy. These flowers have given me some lessons to apply to my life. 
Perhaps God is telling us that being transplanted into new situations is good for us and for those around us. 
For years I thought I knew what my place in God's work was. I enjoyed my work for God. It filled my thoughts and my time. I gave a lot of my time to my work for God. I was sure that I was doing His will. I was told I had a talent for the work I was doing. Perhaps I was even a bit proud of what I was doing. Hmmm? But it seemed to be what God had been intending for me to do. Then one day, I could no longer do it! It was taken away from me without warning. I could not understand why! To say that I was sad would put it mildly! I wasn't just sad—I was mad, I was angry, I was bitter, I wanted revenge, I wanted to have someone tell me that it was all just a bad dream. But it wasn't a dream. It was very real and was not going to change. I went through all the stages of grief at losing my place in God's work. It was a place I was comfortable in, I understood it. I did not like to be moved out of my place of comfort. I did not thrive as the moved flowers thrived. They seemingly recovered right away while I did not. I even thought about not wanting to go on anymore. I had no purpose. But time does heal, and God finally showed me that He still needed me—but in a transplanted place. I did not think He was right, but I finally began to accept His new plan for me. I finally was able to grow in my new place. He has guided me and showed me that He is with me, each and every day. He has allowed me to share and grow in a way that I did not expect. And I have been told that my new place to grow has been of help to others. What more can I ask? I am still working for God and attempting to do His will and helping others is a blessing just as those pretty yellow flowers bless me and many others. 
I shared a painful part of my past because I want to also share the transformation, the growth, and the healing Christ produced for me, and maybe point you toward the hope Jesus has for you. We all have roots, in a sense. From the time we are born, our bodies, personalities, talents, and interests develop and grow. Our "roots" are shaped, fed, and watered by nature, nurture, and our life experiences, both good and bad, and eventually extend out into the world in many ways. We are born with a sinful nature and unfortunately, our roots are also shaped by our sin, the sin of others, and the negative effects of both, and those around us, good or bad—such as the cattails.

Jeremiah 17:7-8—Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees do not fear the heat or worry about long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. The beautiful Marsh-marigold plants have never stopped flowering and reproducing since they were moved.

The word planted means to transplant. When we rest our faith in Jesus, we are transplanted. Our life no longer depends solely on our nature, how we were or are being nurtured, and our experiences. We are taken out of the sinful neighborhood where we lived in and were transplanted, roots and all, into new, life-giving soil. This soil is the love of Jesus Christ. We enter a whole new life in Christ, and our becoming a new creation is a life-long process, one that needs A LOT of tender loving care and expertise, especially for those painful, deep-seated roots where we have been. I didn’t realize the extent of the invasive and long-lasting effects that grew from the time of being transplanted. I often thought, why did this happen and why do I have to struggle with these things? There were many times I wanted to give up and just accept the fact that I would always be this way, that I would always struggle with this problem.

But…When we think there will never be any growth in our lives, that parts of us will never become new—when we are tempted to give up in our times of suffering or when we don’t trust God’s plan for our lives…the Word of God tells us differently, and Jesus offers me a more beautiful way!

In Ephesians 3:13-20, Paul depicts the more beautiful way in suffering that Jesus offers us. He wrote these words to encourage the Ephesian church and me, too, not to lose heart or grow weary . "So, I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. I pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your heart as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ even though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
The strength we need to endure comes from God’s unlimited resources. He always has more strength to give us as we trust in Jesus; as we sink into the nutrient-rich, water-abundant soil and absorb all that Jesus’ love has for us.

If something is difficult and doesn’t make us happy, then cut it out of your life, say goodbye, move on. We want what feels good. It's natural to want to avoid suffering. We want to avoid the hard, long, painful work of growth and renewal. But there is beauty on the other side of suffering and transplant. 

Jesus listens to every thought and whispered word that formed inside of me and came from my lips. He promised to watch over me while I slept and to greet me every morning with fresh mercy. He wouldn’t leave me or give up on me when I failed. My ugly, gnarly roots didn’t scare Him away. I belonged to Him, and He gently showed me that He wanted me to trust Him with every single part of me. When we begin to develop an intimate relationship with Him, His perfect love changes us. New life flows through our roots and  lifeless, painful roots begin to bud with hope, spread out, and grow in strength and stability.

This is how God begins to change us. I grew in understanding Jesus' love. His love was the healthy soil my roots needed to be transformed. His love gave me strength. His love gave me the courage to be vulnerable in my new place in His work. We can trust His love to be the soil that has all we need to grow, bloom, and blossom into something beautiful.  As our roots sink into Jesus’ love and we taste and see how good He is, we won’t want anything else.

There were many times I just wanted to give up, but God always had more strength to give. He drew me close and said, “I know you live closed off and guarded because you’ve been hurt.” He understood and was patient, BUT His love also convicted, corrected, and compelled me. In other words, because He loves us, He moves us. Because He loves us, He transforms us. He didn’t allow those deep-seated roots to be an excuse for me to stop working for Him. My past and present suffering weren’t what would define me.

In times of drought and heat, the flowers flourished due to the wet soil its roots were growing in. The surrounding circumstances didn't dictate whether or not the plants would grow and produce fruit, and with Christ, our past and present suffering doesn't either.

It is God’s work—to transform us from just one or two plants to many. He is the source of life that causes our roots to bud with fullness of life; life that repurposes our painful past. He works constantly, bringing healing, soundness, and wholeness to every part of us. All we need to do is endure and trust Him, His Word, His ways, and His commands because they are all for our good.
Blessings beyond Rescue!

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