Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. –2 Corinthians 2:15 (NLT)
When we first moved to the country, my mother-in-law gave me a small lilac bush, an offshoot of one that grew in her yard. I planted it in the ground at the front corner of the house, upwind, so the soft spring breezes would carry the heady fragrance of the flowers through open windows. After being closed up all winter, I reasoned, the house would smell fresh and clean.
It didn’t quite work out that way. The first few years, the bush grew, but not the flowers. The transplant needed to take to the soil and grow a strong root system before it would blossom.
Then there were the years an early spell of warm, summer-like weather coaxed the buds out, but then a heavy frost would freeze the blossoms. We still got flowers, just not as many.
Each year, the bush grew taller and fuller. Each year I’d open my windows, but somehow the sweet scent of lilacs didn’t fill the house as I’d envisioned – until 25 years after I planted it. Perhaps the bush needed time to mature. Fragrant purple blossoms now cover the bush, which is nearly 20 feet high and 10 feet across, dominating that corner of the yard. And the sweet smell of lilacs fills my home day and night. At last.
My lilac bush and I are alike. When I first became a Christian, I wanted to set the world on fire for Christ. I was bold, enthusiastic, hungry for God-knowledge, and wanting to share what I had with everyone around me. I had dreams of packing up my guitar on going on the road, singing the songs I wrote and telling audiences about God. Didn’t Jesus tell command us to go into all the world and tell others about Him?
But things didn’t work out the way I’d envisioned. Three months after I told God I’d do anything for Him, I was pregnant with our third child. No going into all the world for me. My guitar would have to idle in a forgotten corner, my music on a dusty shelf, while my fingers busied themselves, not with plucking strings, but diapers, dishes, dust rags and dirty clothes.
But those were good years – in hindsight, the best years of my life. I spent a lot of time in the Word and on my knees. Like the lilac bush, I needed time to mature, to grow my roots deep in Him, to weather the extremes of life. Funny, but now that my children are grown and I have the time and opportunity to do what I dreamed of so many years ago, I find myself wanting not to go into the world, but to stay home.
But God has spent decades getting this lilac bush ready to do what He called me to do (and it’s not singing), and I must obey His call. It’s lilac time.
Dear God, let my life be a sweet-smelling fragrance to the world around me. Amen.
Special-Tea: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17