“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”Matthew 6:28-30 NLT
I’m leaving Shanghai on Saturday, and I thought it fitting to thank Shanghai for my favorite thing about it, its flowers.
Flowers are powerful. Not only are they a part of the scientific process that helps us breathe (photosynthesis) they naturally command attention. Their beauty and color catches someone’s eye. The fact that their beauty is fading catches people’s attention. Flowers are not meant to last or be enjoyed every day. So, it makes that moment, the moment you see that one beautiful flower all the more special because, while there may be some that look like that flower, or are the same species, they won’t be a that flower. No two flowers are the same, just like no two humans are the same (even twins).
I never realized how powerful flowers were till I came to Shanghai, and they were everywhere. They were bright, colorful, and so different. The plant life in general was just so different than the plant life I was used to (aspen trees, pine trees, and yellow grass). Though it was the flowers that really caught my eye. They were in pots by the road, in the trees outside my apartment window, as decorations in buildings. I saw and felt a real flower at least once every day since I came to Shanghai.
The flowers captivated me like nothing else. Part of it was because I hadn’t seen this many. Mainly though, they captivated me because they helped me enjoy the moment. The moments I was lost and afraid at night, or the times I was stuck inside during quarantine, there was a flower. Fleeting, small, but beautiful and there. In that moment, that fleeting beauty was exactly where I needed it to be. It did not run to catch up to me, it did not wait for me to meet it. It was there, providing a moment for me to breathe and enjoy the beauty.
In life, we get so focused on doing something. In reaching the next goal, hitting that target whatever. At least I do. But sometimes, God is asking us to take a moment and be with Him, enjoy Him. Though, how many times do we push God away because, He will always be there. He’s not the fleeting fading flower. He’s powerful, mighty, and never-ending. So, we make Him wait for us, we forget about Him.
But the thing is, to Him, we are the flowers. It is us that are fading and fleeting. It is us He wants to enjoy. So, the question is, are we providing Him with that same moment? Do we just bask in His glory? Do we take in His presence and give back love?
Or are we so busy with the dirt (that next paycheck, that next bill, that next goal to hit, that next pound to lose) around us that we forget to be the flowers we are to Him?
So, thank you, Shanghai. Thank you for reminding me that I am one of God’s many flowers. Something that captivates Him, that lives for Him, that is beautiful to Him. Thank you, Shanghai. Thank you, God for this moment.
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry?Isaiah 40:6-8 KJV
All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God shall stand for ever.