I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. – 1 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)
I’d never heard of moonflowers until a friend posted a picture of hers on Facebook. “The blossoms bloom only at night,” she wrote.
Flowers that bloom only in the dark? Intrigued, I did some online research.
Moonflower vines, I learned, can grow up to 20 feet, with 4-to 6-inch white, fragrant blossoms opening in the evening until the following morning.
How like faith—genuine, real, rubber-meets-the-road faith. Faith, I’ve learned, is only faith when you can’t see. When you’re in the dark, not knowing, not in control. When you have no one else to turn to but God.
Have you ever known anyone who possesses such a faith? I do.
To say that Louise is a joyful person is an understatement. Joy bubbles out of her. I rarely see her without her bright smile and sparkling eyes—and sense of humor. Situations which would give me permission to wallow in self-pity, she manages to find the light side. Like the time she came to church sporting a black eye, caused by the recoil from her hunting rifle. The church pianist, she sat at the keyboard on the platform, laughing as she told us the story.
Louise and her husband, Carl, once led an active, busy life, led by their love for their family, their church, and their Lord. Blessed with musical talent, they often sang together, visiting numerous churches in the area. They produced cassette tapes, offering them for a donation to cover the cost of production.
When Louise was diagnosed with cancer, Carl was chronically ill himself. Since she could no longer take care of him, he went to live in a local nursing home.
Wanting to offer back some of the comfort she’d always given me, I made a batch of chicken soup and took it to her. But she was the one who ministered to me.
“When I woke up this morning,” she said as we sat at her kitchen table, “before I even got out of bed, I lay there, just praising God.”
Louise lives the words she once sang: “You talk of faith when you’re up on the mountain. Talk comes easy when life’s at its best. But it’s down in the valley of trials and temptations, that’s when faith is really put to the test. The God on the mountain is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He’ll make it right. And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night.”*
Recently I saw some pictures of Louise on Facebook. Her thin frame and head turban tell of the battle she wages. But her bright eyes and smile that lights up her whole face tell another story—a story of a moonflower faith, its beauty opening to the dark, exuding an unforgettable fragrance into the world around it.
O God, may my faith, too, be a moonflower faith. Amen.
*From the song, “God on the Mountain”