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  • Writer's pictureSam Danforth

The Unlikely Lily

Originally published February 29, 2014.

My unlikely lily should be dead. By all rights. 3 lilies were planted. 3 lilies were chewed up and spat out by puppies. One lily stub remained. It should be dead.

I know nothing about gardening and kill everything with either too much love or not enough. Plants in my presence are determined on the course of death rather than be cared for by the likes of me. Lesotho was a new start, new plants, new soil, new beginnings. I was going to make this whole garden thing HAPPEN, goshdernit.

I bought new plants, soil, compost, and had a friend come over to help. Yet, my roses withered in the Mosotho sun, my puppies harshly dominated all things green, and my efforts seemed in vain. "What a waste of water", I thought as I stared down the lily stub that refused to show signs of health.

Yet you see above what awaited me in my garden yesterday morning.

My father-in-law is God's gift to plant life. He came in December and talked those plants into choosing life over death. Rosebuds and hibiscus opened their sleepy eyes in the sunlight and grew in luster but I still thought the lily was a goner.

Somehow, that ol' lily clung to life. It wasn't beyond the struggle. It just had to learn the secret of the good fight.

I am learning the same secret of the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). The harsh realities of missionary life can easily dominate my view and I am now that withered stub. I may need to catch my breath here as the stub and LEARN to LIVE Nehemiah 8:10, "The joy of the Lord is my strength". I may need to sit here and let my roots gather up the Living Waters deep underearth that will pump eventual life to my utterances so I KNOW the meaning of "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit". I may need the Gentle Gardener to whisper to my soul, "My dear brother, we must not mind a little suffering for Christ's sake" (Charles Simeon).

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