Blackberry Winter

The days have once again turned cool, and there’s a chill in the air, but it’s spring! Growing up my grandparents and parents called this time in late May or early June when the air turned cool ‘blackberry winter.’ I remember them saying “it makes the blackberry blooms set.” Whether that is fact or folklore, one thing for certain, it happens every year.

Another memory comes to mind of my mother’s love for flowers and growing things. One time she had several cactus plants, and I remember one of them bloomed (which might be unusual since it was in the Midwest). It was the prettiest flower among them all – and it smelled like a dead animal!! Look, but don ‘t smell!

My father-in-law was a rough man; he knew more about wildlife than most conservation agents, and never shied away from a days work. But he had a liking for wild flowers, and he usually had a row or two of wild hollyhocks growing along a fence or side of a building he had transplanted from a creek or pond bank. I think, as many men who were or had been farmers, he appreciated the wonder and intricacies of Creation, though he would not have said it that way. But Nature to him was wonderful.

There are many references to flowers in the Bible. In 1 Kings 6 there are descriptions of the carvings done in the temple, of cups like almond flowers on the lamp stands and on the doors, all overlaid with hammered gold.

Often the fragility of flowers is used to depict the fleeting existence of human beings; Job 14 says:

1Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.
2They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.

Isaiah 40:

“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

But Jesus said it a little different. He pointed out two things: the amazing provision of God, and the frailty of our existence on this earth (Luke 12):

27“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”

Before that He told the disciples “don ‘t worry about life!” God knows everything we need – and we should not worry but stay faithful to Him. Jesus asked “who can add one single hour to their life by worrying?” Then He said a peculiar thing: 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Think about adding a year, a month, a week, an hour, even one minute, to your life by fretting over it. It just won’t happen. But He called it a “little thing.”

He was looking at it from a Kingdom perspective. Eternity has no concept of time; a year, a month, a week, an hour, a minute. The word “time” does not apply to Eternity; only our limited understanding of “forever” is ascribed to Eternity.

29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Someone said “we are spiritual beings on a human journey.” A journey often requires a guide, and through our faith in Jesus Christ we find The Guide and guidance we so desperately need. Like every good guide, He warns us and prepares us for what lies ahead, but the end of the journey will bring more joy and happiness and contentment  than we can ever imagine.

Jesus is The Lily of the Valley; the Rose of Sharon. He will never lose His glory, His bloom will never fall or wither, He is clothed in Eternal Glory and Righteousness, having sacrificed Himself for us, defeating Death, conquering Sin, and will lead us to The Promised Land we call Heaven.

All we have to do is ask.

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