“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever”—Psalm 23:4 (NASB).
On my daily walks through the neighborhood, I love seeing God’s creation throughout the seasons. Observing the changing flora reminds me of life.
Our lives are not constant, but in a state of change. We try to cling to the past, fearing what the future might bring.
We try to hang onto our youth by purchasing products or undergoing elective surgeries to reverse the signs of aging. But, like the spring flowers fade, so do our bodies, in spite of our attempts otherwise.
Lessons through Nature
Recently, while on one of my walks, a stretch of purple irises gracing a neighbor’s grassy slope drew me to examine more closely the intricacies of God’s handiwork. Pulling out my cell phone, I started snapping close-ups of the regal flowers.
Admiring the details of the tall flowers, I almost overlooked a lonely pop of yellow nestled at the base of one of the variegated blooms. It was a dandelion. What a contrast! There was no comparison between the two—a royal looking Iris alongside what some would consider a weed.
Continuing on my walk, I was struck by my reaction to the two different flowers. I began to think about similarities to human beauty and people’s reaction to the lack of a pleasing face.
The Habit of Comparison
While some consider the dandelion a pest, others treasure the tiny flower. Its history includes a variety of medicinal uses as well as a source of edible, nutritious food products. A friend recently shared a story of receiving a jar of dandelion jam, which she deemed delicious, from a relative.
The showy Iris is popular in flowerbeds because of their beauty and ease of growing. But, they really serve no other purpose. According to my research, the yellow variety has been used in some countries for water purification because the roots improve water quality, consuming nutrient pollutants. This variety can, however, take over waterways and become a nuisance.
The two, according to different websites, also have symbolic meanings. The purple iris signifies faith, hope, wisdom, courage and admiration. The floral meaning of the dandelion, when given to a loved one as a gift, symbolizes happiness and a promise of total faithfulness.
How Comparison Can Hurt
Before I became a grounded-in-Christ believer, I compared myself to others. I recall envying others who had more or who had abilities I didn’t have. I wasn’t athletic and I abhorred my naturally curly hair, especially growing up as a teen in the 60s when long, straight hair was the rage.
Now, at age 65, I just try to do my best with what God has graced me with—a kinder heart and eyes to see the world through His eyes. My physical appearance and my lack of athletic abilities no longer have the power to control my life.
Opportunities for comparison are more prevalent today than at any other time in history. We live in a social media driven world where we are inundated with what we presume is perfection—perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect lives.
Striving for Perfection
Even the most perfect-looking people, who appear to have perfect families and lives, deal with comparison. Why else would they hide behind a fake world on the Internet?
Life is not perfect. Since the Garden of Eden, mankind has failed to find the answers. Instead we’re led to seek and strive, compare and complain, and push ourselves to climb up the ladder of success.
Galatians 5:26 says, we’re not to “become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” But, we still do.
Only God Will Remain
Each day on my daily walk, I pass by the slowly withering irises. Before long, the only evidence of their showy existence will be browning petals and wilting stalks.
Even the less respected dandelion will turn to seed, leaving behind a fragile pod exposed to the wind and the whims of those who like to pick them and scatter the seeds with a puff of breath.
Yes, the grass will wither. The flowers will fade. But the Word of God will stand forever.
I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, or visit my blog for more inspiration at www.carolaround.com. If you need a speaker or workshop leader, you can contact me at the above e-mail or through my website. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Photo credit: Carol Round