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That is What Roses are Like

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading. And being the history buff that I am, one of the books I’ve recently stuck my nose in is Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile. It’s a portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the German Blitzkrieg.
In May of 1940, the prospect of a German invasion forced citizens of all levels of British society to contemplate what could happen as they sat at their table reading the newspaper or knelt in their gardens pruning their rosebushes.
Larson recounted a particular day that summer when you could walk in London's Regent's Park as barrage balloons drifted overhead. 562 of these giant oblong balloons were aloft over London, tethered by mile-long cables to block German dive-bombers and keep fighters from descending low enough to strafe the city's streets.
One woman recalled how people sat in chairs among the roses, staring straight ahead, their faces white with strain.

"Some of them walked among the rose-beds, with a special earnestness looking down on the bright flowers and inhaling the scent, as if to say, 'That is what roses are like, that is how they smell. We must remember that, down in the darkness.'"

Sometimes our days are dreary. Sometimes the nights are long. But listen again...

“That is what roses are like, that is how they smell. We must remember that, down in the darkness.”

There’s an idiom that we often hear reminding us to slow down and relax.

“Stop and smell the roses.”

That idiom has taken on a new meaning in recent weeks now with our new normal of social distancing and self-isolation, providing us all with this very opportunity.
In 1922, Ida Guirey penned the words to a song we sometimes sing.

“Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart;
Beauties of Thy truth and holiness impart,
That where’er I go my life may shed abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God.”

And although Jesus is never in the New Testament referred to as the Rose of Sharon, the author used a little poetic license is describing the One we should cherish and adore.
I’m reminded of what the Hebrew write said in Hebrews 12 as we run the race with endurance:

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12.2

We need to ask ourselves what are we looking at in this life? God is concerned that we are going to be distracted in this life race. The things that distract us more than not are all the weights of this life.
Jesus is the ultimate model. He endured the cross and disregarded its shame because why? He saw the joy that was set before him and he attained that joy.
Do we look at what lies ahead of us as the greatest joy that we could possibly experience? There is a reason God tells us about eternity. God wants us to focus on it.
Do not focus on this life. Focus on Jesus. Focus on what he is offering to each of us.

“That is what roses are like, that is how they smell. We must remember that, down in the darkness.”